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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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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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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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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Fall In Love With Your Fall Closet With These Organizing Tips

These tips can make organizing your closet for fall and winter a snap!

Can you believe that the summer’s already come to an end? Our recent heat wave certainly wouldn’t seem to indicate that the seasons are shifting, but the calendar doesn’t lie.

Since you know cooler weather is soon to be heading our way, this is a great time to start thinking about organizing your closet for fall. Here are a few of my favorite tips to help!

  • Start Storing: There’s no reason to have your shorts and sandals taking up prominent places in your closet anymore. Store the majority of your summer clothes, keeping a few of your favorite pieces out for vacations and the random hot days we have here in Los Angeles.
  • Get Hung Up On Hangers: Switching your closet over to a single hanger style might sound like a lot of work, but trust me, the result is well worth it! Not only will thinner, velvet-covered hangers in a single color give your closet a chic look, they’ll also help your clothes hang better and, believe it or not, create more closet space!
  • Engage Your Eyes: You’re much more likely to wear more of your wardrobe if you can actually see it. Move stored summer clothing to the back of your closet, and move everything you want to wear the fall and winter to the front. Organize your closet so everything is as visible as possible. Hang up shirts with graphics, for example, so you won’t lose them with your plain tees.

Organizing your closet can be a nightmare if you don’t have enough closet space. Are you ready to get into the right  home, with the right closet? Enjoy the luxury of having a great closet—and a great home!—by contacting me, Betsy Dittman, today. I’m here to be your guide to the local real estate market, guiding you towards the perfect home for all of your wants and needs.

Posted on September 30, 2015 at 11:00 am
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Could The Market Be Getting Better For Homebuyers?

Some trends point towards a buyer’s market heading our way.

There’s no doubt that we’ve been experiencing a seller’s market. As low mortgage rates and skyrocketing rent costs drive more and more Americans to buy homes even as the national housing inventory has stayed relatively tight, sellers have had the opportunity to sell their homes quickly, and for a notable profit.

The tides could be changing, though. Trulia recently calculated how long it takes for homes to sell and found that 63 percent of homes listed early in the summer were still on the market two months later. This is an increase over the 61 percent last summer posted.

What does this mean? It could hint that the market is slowing down, which would be great news for would-be homeowners who’ve been scrambling to get into homes in the face of competition from other buyers.

Ultimately, the fact that some homes are lingering on the market doesn’t necessarily mean that all buyers will have an easier time, though. Specifically, California buyers can still expect a fast-paced market since the Golden State boasts 5 of the top 10 fastest housing markets. That doesn’t mean that we won’t see a gradual shift towards a buyer’s market, but it does mean it could take a little longer for it to reach our particular portion of the West Coast.

Whether you’re buying or selling in the local market, it’s important that you have an ally on your side to make sure you make the most of your real estate process. For expert insight into local luxury real estate and top-tier service, contact me, Betsy Dittman. I’m dedicated to helping homebuyers and sellers in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles bring their real estate dreams to life in 2015.

Posted on September 18, 2015 at 11:00 am
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