Selling Strategies That Just Don’t Work

Stop using these selling strategies if you actually want to sell your Los Angeles, CA home!

Theoretically, if you list your home on the market you actually want it to sell. That’s why it baffles me that time and time again, people use these “selling strategies” that have been proven to fail. If you’re serious about finding a buyer and making a profit from your home, stay far away from these selling strategies that could tank your sale.

  • Pricing High: I understand that you put a lot of work into renovating your home. I understand that you’d like to recoup as much of that money as possible. That doesn’t mean that you can necessarily expect to get every cent back, though. Pricing your home too high will price it right out of your local market, and your listing will be left languishing. If you want your home to sell, look at comparable sales in your neighborhood and work with your agent to price it competitively.
  • Refusing Offers: You’d like to make a certain profit margin on your home when it sells, so it’s tempting to balk at offers that come in lower than anticipated. Don’t reject them outright, though! All offers are just a starting point for negotiating, and your agent may yet be able to work the buyer up to a better price point. Don’t lose them by rejecting their offer right away!
  • Choosing an Agent Quickly: Make sure you interview multiple real estate agents. The wrong one could leave you not getting as much money as you deserve or, worse yet, not being able to sell at all!

There are just a few selling strategies that I’ve seen fail time and time again, and my goal is to help you steer clear of them. To learn about what does and doesn’t work when trying to sell your Los Angeles home, contact me, Betsy Dittman. I’m a local real estate agent with years of experience who can help you avoid mistakes that could make it impossible to sell your home!

Posted on December 14, 2015 at 11:00 am
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The Best Timeline for Real Estate Listing in Los Angeles, CA

Should you put up your real estate listing in Los Angeles, CA now or wait until spring?

It’s common knowledge in the real estate world that spring and summer are the hottest times for the market. As the mercury rises, so do the number of people wanting to buy and sell. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to wait until 2016 to list your home, though. In fact, there are actually quite a few reasons listing in the winter can benefit you. Here’s why the best time for your real estate listing in Los Angeles, CA to go live is right now.

To start, people always need to buy. By listing right now, you can capitalize on the people whose leases end at the year’s end and want to have a home locked down before they need to move out. You’ll grab the people who just got a major holiday bonus at work and finally have enough for their down payment. You’ll attract buyers who finished their year-end finances and realized renting just doesn’t make sense for them anymore.

What’s more, you’ll not only be able to make it on the radar for these buyers, you’ll likely be one of their limited options. Most people will wait until spring to list their homes, so listing now helps you avoid the bulk of the competition. Don’t worry about your curb appeal; just do what you can. People understand how seasons work and know that by buying now, they’re getting a home that will only look better throughout the rest of the year!

I know that selling your Los Angeles home is a major decision, and I believe you deserve to have guidance so you can do it on the right timeline at the right price. For that kind of service, contact me, Betsy Dittman. I’ll be your luxury real estate agent, helping you list at the right time, optimize your listing, and ultimately find the right buyer with the right offer.

Posted on December 10, 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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Home Buying: The Smart Money Move

Rent costs are rising, so home buying in Los Angeles, CA is the smart financial choice. 

People tend to associate home buying with money. They’re right to do so. When you buy a home, you spend more money than you’ve likely spent on any other single purchase.

Just because it’s a big buy doesn’t mean it’s a bad money move.  In fact, buying a home is actually one of the best financial decisions you can make. Rather than throwing money away on rent month after month, owning a home allows you to build significant equity.

Your equity isn’t the only financial benefit, either. You’ll also be escaping a cycle of skyrocketing rent costs. Right now, Yahoo reports that renters in America spend just under a third of their monthly income on rent. This is of great concern because housing experts consider an individual “rent-burdened” if he or she is paying  over 30 percent of his or her income for housing costs.

What’s more, rent costs aren’t going anywhere but up. Researchers project that more and more people will rent rather than buy, which will drive up rent prices. In fact, the Urban Institute predicts that there will be 2.2 million more rent-burdened Americans by 2025.

The good news? There’s an alternative to renting! Owning a home is 35 percent more affordable than renting, on average. With down payments as low as three percent right now, owning is a great way to get out of being subjected to rising rents!

Want to learn more about the smart financial move of home buying in Los Angeles, the San Fernando or Conejo Valleys? For insider insight and a personalized approach, contact me, Betsy Dittman. As a luxury real estate agent, I’ve seen firsthand how owning a home has offered major financial benefits to my clients and I am dedicated to helping you realize those benefits yourself!

 

Posted on November 27, 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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