Where to See the Best Christmas Lights In Los Angeles, CA

If you’re in Los Angeles, CA, you won’t want to miss these Christmas light displays!

‘Tis the season – for bundling up, grabbing your favorite hot drink, and heading out to gawk at the shimmering lights that mark this time of year. In Los Angeles, we’re fortunate to have a whole host of displays that are truly wow-worthy but with the busyness of the holiday season you might not have time to hit them all. I want to help you see that can’t-miss ones, so here are a couple of Christmas light displays in Los Angeles, CA that I think are well worth the trip!

Rodeo Drive

Since Rodeo Drive does the rest of the year right, it makes sense that they nail the holiday season as well. Enjoy your lights with a little glitz and glamour as you stroll down this famous street. My advice is to start at South Santa Monica Boulevard and head south. Try to make it to Rodeo Two (between Dayton Way and Wilshire Boulevard) because Santa and carolers  will be there on certain nights!

LA Zoo Lights

If you’re looking for a family-friendly night of light, now through January 3rd you and yours can head to (surprise!) the zoo to see some of the most dazzling lights in LA. Not only will there be light animals and an amazing display of water and light set to music, there will also be live reindeer to help you get in the holiday spirit. Enjoy holiday treats and marvel at all the zoo has to offer! You can purchase your early bird tickets for just $10 online and save yourself as much as $6 a person!

I hope you have a great time looking at the light in Los Angeles! It might leave you wanting to string up some lights of your own, and you’ll want the perfect home to serve as your canvas. If you’re hunting for a home for the holidays in Los Angeles or Conejo Valley, contact me, Betsy Dittman. As an expert local luxury real estate agent, I’m here to serve you!

Posted on December 11, 2015 at 11:00 am
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DIY Outdoor Holiday Decorating Ideas

Deck your walkways and porch with these outdoor holiday decorating ideas.

Now that December is officially underway, there’s no more putting off digging out your holiday décor and decking the halls. What about the exterior of your home, though? It deserves to look as festive as the interior, and I can help! Use these outdoor holiday decorating ideas to welcome the season as you welcome guests to your home.

  • Cranberry Candles: All you need for this easy DIY is a few minutes and a few items. Line your walkway with bundles of evergreen boughs. Periodically, place a sturdy, large glass votive in amidst the bundles. Fill it with a little faux snow, top it with faux cranberries, and nestle a candle in the middle for a beautiful, seasonal way to light the night.
  • Garland Game: Keep your garland game strong by adding your own touches to a store bought garland. I love adding cranberries and apples for pops of red with pinecones and cinnamon sticks to add earthy textures and scent.
  • Outdoor Ornaments: Buy the largest holiday ornaments you can find. Fill planters with moss balls, your ornaments, grapevine balls, and other pretty spherical items to create an eye-catching display. Hint: plastic ornaments fare much better outdoors than easily breakable glass ones.
  • Bells & Boughs: Try a new take on the classic wreath by gathering up a few evergreen branches and a couple of small bunches of fresh, fragrant herbs. Looped seasonal but sturdy ribbon around the bottoms of all these stems, creating a bunch. String some jingle bells through your ribbon so they hang down over the bunch and hang the whole display on your front door.

Before you can use any of these ideas, you need to have the right home to decorate! To get it, contact me, Betsy Dittman. I have a whole host of property listings throughout Los Angeles and Conejo Valley so you can find the perfect property for you! Let me give you the gift of your dream home this holiday season; call me today.

Posted on December 9, 2015 at 11:00 am
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Having These Thoughts? It’s Time for Some Home Renovating

Here’s how you know you’re ready for home renovating.

Renovating your home is a lot of work. It takes time and money and turns your home—which should be a refuge—into a construction zone. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it, though!

Sometimes, you just need to do some home renovating. If you’re having any of these thoughts, it’s time for you to start planning your remodel.

“I want to sell my house.”

If you’re thinking of selling, do your homework on which projects will get you the ROI. Then, do them. Houses that have been renovated sell faster and at higher prices. Plus, if you’re already emotionally ready to part with your home you won’t be bothered by any changes you make to it!

“I’m not happy at home.”

When you get home after a long day of work, you should feel like you’re walking into a sanctuary. If you don’t look forward to going home, get out the jackhammer (or hire someone who has one) and get to work on creating your ideal space. You deserve to love where you live, and it’s well worth the investment of energy and money to make your house a home.

“I’m not keeping up with the Joneses.”

Have you noticed a lot of remodels on your street? Time to start one of your own! When it comes time to sell your house, you’re going to have a very hard time if your home looks like a dated dud next to your neighbors’ new digs.

Whether you’re renovating because you want to sell or are ready to buy a home that won’t need so much work, contact me, Betsy Dittman, today! I’m here to help you find your ideal home in Los Angeles or the Conejo Valley. If you want guidance to your perfect piece of luxury real estate, call me today!

 

Posted on November 30, 2015 at 11:00 am
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Defy The Drought At LACMA’s Rain Room Exhibit

LACMA’s rain room exhibit is something you won’t want to miss!

Whether you live in Los Angeles or are just visiting, LACMA is a must-hit location. From now until March 6th, there’s one more reason to head to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and, if you love rain, it’s a great one.

Four years into our California drought, rain might feel like a distant memory. It doesn’t have to be! LACMA just debuted a new exhibit aptly named the Rain Room. Here’s how it works.

You walk into a 2,500 square foot gallery. There’s no art on the walls (or the ceiling or floor). Instead, everything is black. You walk up a ramp and begin hearing a comforting sound. Could it be? Yes! It’s the sound of steady, soothing rainfall and you’re about to walk right into it.

Don’t worry – your leather jacket and suede shoes are just fine, thanks to modern technology. The 1,000 square foot Rain Room pours 650 gallons of water from the ceiling to the floor, except where gallery goers are standing. Using a 3D-map, a pixelated grid, and nine outlets, the Rain Room senses where you are and completely cuts off water flow directly above you.

The effect? You get to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of a solid rainfall without ever having a drop land on you!

If our ongoing drought has you missing rain, head to LACMA before March 6th to take a toe your way through a torrent without the inconvenience of getting wet yourself. No umbrella needed!

The Rain Room is just the latest of LACMA’s amazing installations. If you’re wanting to live near all of the cultural opportunities that the museums of Los Angeles provide, contact me, Betsy Dittman. I have the luxury real estate experience you need to find your dream home in Los Angeles, the San Fernando and Conejo Valleys.

Posted on November 23, 2015 at 1:00 am
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My Picks For The Best Luxury Hotels in Los Angeles, CA

Want to live in the lap of luxury? You can, at these Los Angeles, CA hotels!

As a luxury real estate agent in Southern California, I get a lot of lifestyle questions. One of my favorite to answer is, “What’s your favorite hotel?” Here are just a few gems that I think really make the most of our great location and offer the best in luxury!

W Los Angeles-West Beverly Hills

W Hotels are known for blending luxury with an energetic lifestyle, and their recently completed renovation of their Beverly Hills property is making it even easier for them to do that. From their newly restyled Living Room & Bar to their Extreme Wow Suite, which features a 10-person screening room covered in gold tufted leather, there’s plenty to do at the hotel itself, not to mention nearby Beverly Hills, Bel Air, beaches, and Sunset Strip.

The Ritz Carlton Los Angeles

Soak up the rays at the 26th floor rooftop pool, slough off your stress at the memorable The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Los Angeles, and grab a bite to eat at WP24 by Wolfgang Puck. The Ritz can fill your day with indulgence without ever having to set foot outside its property – though if you do, you’ll be in the heart of downtown LA.

Hotel Casa Del Mar

Blending the relaxation of stunning views of the Pacific with the glamour of high-end Southern California living, Casa Del Mar is definitely an iconic getaway destination. Plus, they offer yoga lessons on the sand, an in-house raw bar, and a wellness spa, all aimed at helping you leave them feeling rejuvenated.

Staying at any one of those hotels will give you a taste of luxury living, and might just leave your hungering for more. Fortunately, as an expert in luxury home sales in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Conejo Valley, I can help you enjoy a lavish lifestyle every single day! To learn more about buying your dream home, contact me, Betsy Dittman.

Posted on November 18, 2015 at 11:00 am
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Mortgage Advice: Should You Refinance?

These are a few good reasons to refinance your mortgage.  

Your mortgage is probably one of your biggest monthly expenses, so refinancing is tempting. It could help you save money each month, get a lower interest rate to save over the life of your loan, and free up money for other, more fun pursuits. Not everyone should refinance, though. Should you?

There are a few great reasons for working on your mortgage. Here’s my mortgage advice on when you should refinance.

  • You can get a lower rate. Keep in mind that when you refinance, you’ll have to pay closing costs all over again. It’s worth it to take those on if you can save 2 percent on your interest rate. Talk to your lender and see how much you could shave off your rate before you commit to refinancing.
  • You can slash your loan life. Even if you can’t minimize your monthly payment, shortening the duration of your loan is well worth it. Just think, if you could be free of your mortgage payments in 10 years instead of 12, that gives you two extra years of cash to put towards home improvements, retirement, or fun!
  • You need to pull our equity. If you have debts other than your mortgage that are weighing on your family, refinancing can be a great way to free up the equity you’ve built in your home to pay off those outstanding amounts.

Instead of working on your mortgage, you could simply sell your house and buy another one that better suits you. To learn how selling your Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Fernando or Conejo Valley, or Beverly Hills home could help you get into the right house with the right mortgage, contact me, Betsy Dittman. As a real estate expert, I’m more than happy to offer my advice to you.

Posted on November 13, 2015 at 11:00 am
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High Demand for Los Angeles Luxury Homes

The demand for luxury properties, particularly in the Los Angeles area, is increasing.

In the second quarter of 2015, Los Angeles saw an 8.6 percent increase in the number of luxury single- family home sales when compared to last year. In addition, the prices are surpassing the levels reached before the last housing market burst.

High demand areas such as Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Pacific Palisades are experiencing record prices. The luxury median price of  a single-family home in those areas has climbed to over $5.9 million. This represents an increase of 13.7 percent over the median price from the same quarter of 2014. Many believe this is due to a strong economic outlook.

Extra care is being taken when selling to this sophisticated and determined group of potential buyers. Foreign luxury buyers are becoming increasingly more likely to purchase a property based on what they read online and U.S property  is looking more like a “safe haven” for their money as well as a highly coveted place for vacation or relocation.

Vacation home sales represented 21 percent of all home purchases in the U.S last year, and Los Angeles home sales do not seem to be decreasing any time soon. Find your dream home with real estate expert, Betsy Dittman. I have experience working with buyers and sellers throughout the Greater Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, Malibu, and  Conejo Valley areas. Contact me today to help you reach your real estate goals.

Posted on October 23, 2015 at 11:00 am
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How to Beat 4 Mortgage Obstacles

Do not let common roadblocks affect your mortgage.

Applying for a home loan requires a tremendous amount of documentation and it can be challenging to keep on top of all the paperwork. You can expect to show everything from full tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, credit reports, debt, income, and assets. With such an extensive look into your monetary history, this can leave you vulnerable to obstacles in your mortgage application process. Here’s how to beat them:

  • Changes in  Income
    If the underwriter at the loan company determines that your income is lower than what the loan originator said it was, you can provide a written verification of employment. This breaks down your wages and is especially helpful if you are an hourly employee with fluctuating income from bonuses and overtime. Lenders normally require two years of consistent income history when reviewing a loan application for approval.
  • Too Much Debt
    If your debt-to-income ratio is too high, you may need to reevaluate the mortgage that you are applying for. You can also reduce the payment on your mortgage, reduce or remove payments on consumer loans, or reconsider the income. Your debt-to-income ratio should not exceed 45% in order to qualify.
  • Paying Debt Off Incorrectly
    When your credit card payments are paid off, you can reduce your payment-to-income ratio. When you pay off consumer debts to qualify for a mortgage, the accounts must be closed as well, which may have a negative impact on your healthy credit score. A good option is to obtain an updated credit report and make sure that each creditor that you have paid off reports to the credit bureau a zero balance and payment due.
  • Negative Events on your Credit Report
    If you have had a short sale within the past four years, it could stop your conventional loan in its tracks and you would have to apply for an alternative loan such as an FHA . Be sure to check your credit report to remove any anomalies. If you have issues in regard to your loan application, make sure you contact your loan officer immediately to explain the situation and resolve any issues that could impact the loan process.

Now that you successfully have a mortgage in hand (with the help of these useful tips!), you can finally purchase that dream home in the Los Angeles or Conejo Valley area. Contact me, Betsy Dittman, to find your dream home in California!

Posted on October 16, 2015 at 11:00 am
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Los Angeles Horrifying Haunted Houses

Get your Halloween haunted house fix!

During the Halloween season, Los Angeles is home to some of the best haunted houses. From big-budget theme park productions to homegrown horrors, the city has it all! While Halloween is the time for some good  spooks and scares, check out my list of the best Halloween houses and attractions in Los Angeles .

Halloween Horror Nights-Universal Studios

articles.latimes.com

articles.latimes.com


Universal Studios theme park puts on a scare on select nights until Halloween. This year is all about Crimson Peak: Maze of Madness which is based on the upcoming film. The maze will take guests through ghostly, decaying remains of a Victorian labyrinth. In addition, guests can enjoy the world of Insidious, Alien vs. PredatorHalloween and outrun zombies from The Walking Dead. Runs until November 1st. Universal Studios and City Walk   Universal City

 

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride-Griffith Park

www.canyon-news.com

www.canyon-news.com

This hayride is far from the kid-friendly pumpkin patches around town. This year’s theme, “Boogeyman,”  unleashes demons, maniacs, and drags guests through a trail of characters and scare zones that nightmares are made out of. The hayride and pitch-black maze will leave you feeling spooked in Griffith Park!
Old Zoo  Griffith Park  Runs until October 31st

 

 

Knott’s Halloween Haunt- Knott’s Berry Farm

www.disneyorama.com

www.disneyorama.com

Knott’s Berry Farm invites guests to roam the mazes, “scare zones”, and live shows at the theme park which features over 1,000 monsters.  It is one of the largest and oldest Halloween events held at a theme park.  New attractions this year feature zombies, an evil tooth fairy and Southern voodoo in addition to the return of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, for two shows nightly.  Don’t miss the return of this classic.

Knott’s Berry Farm  Runs until October 31st

 

 

Dark Harbor-Queen Mary

nerdreactor.com

nerdreactor.com

The is the ultimate haunted attraction on a historic ship. The Queen Mary is going all out for Halloween with mazes, fog, monsters, a vintage Ferris Wheel, and a full bar that includes and R.I.P. Lounge.  The dark and cramped confines of the ship make for an already spooky experience.  Make sure to arrive before 8 pm. For $20 “Happy Haunting Hour” tickets.

Queen Mary, Long Beach  Runs until November 1st

Ward 13

www.eviltwinstudios.com

www.eviltwinstudios.com

Guests in South Pasadena will walk through Ward 13, a 15 minute walk through Raymond Hill Sanitarium, which is actually an old school building. Here you will confront all sorts of frightening experiments. Your screams will benefit the South Pasadena Educational Foundation.

For a Los Angeles real estate expert, contact Betsy Dittman.  I represent buyers and sellers of property throughout the Greater Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley and  Conejo Valley.  Contact me to answer all of your real estate questions.

Posted on October 13, 2015 at 11:00 am
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Hot Spring Home Sales to Continue into Summer

thermometer and sun

2015 House Summer Sales Best in Last Decade

The ‘spring buying season’ has always been a popular time for homes to fly off the market. It seems that, this year, the summer real estate market will be just as hot!

The most recent report released from the National Association of Realtors (NARS), revealed that there are more buyers looking at homes right now than in any other time in the past two years, including the last two spring seasons. The number of potential purchasers has been greater each month of this year, compared to the same month in 2014. These current numbers are expected to stay higher than last years, all the way through fall.

In short, the housing market will remain strong with an increased number of house sales that will continue throughout summer into the fall season. This year, 2015, aims to be one of the best years in the real estate market for over a decade!

This is the perfect opportunity to put your house on the market if you were thinking of selling, with the increased probability of it being bought quickly. If you are searching for your perfect home, now is the time to get looking!

For all of your real estate needs, contact me, Betsy Dittman. I bring years of sales and marketing experience to sell your house quickly and correctly, and find the perfect home for you and your family!

Posted on August 28, 2015 at 11:00 am
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