Single Family Homes by Area – SOLD in January 2018

Source:  iTech MLS

   Location # Homes Average Average Average  Avg.  Days
 SOLD Square Ft. Price/SF    List   Price   On Market SP % LP
La Canada 10 4129 $ 647 $ 2,746,180 31 98.10%
Montrose 2 1526  $ 520 $ 735,100 12 107.54%
La Crescenta 20 1725 $ 585 $ 924,095 31 102.35%
Tujunga  16 1571 $ 426 $ 625,056 63 99.63%
Sunland  15 1500 $ 448 $ 616,246 26 103.98%

 

 


Posted on February 5, 2018 at 8:40 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Market Stats |

Homeowner Safety: How to Create a Home Inventory

home inventoryWhen moving into a new home, one of the most important things you should do is create a home inventory. In the event that somewhere down the road your valuables are lost or stolen, having visual evidence of your property is the best way for insurance adjusters to determine what they’re worth. Unfortunately, many people skip this task.

Very often, homeowners learn of the importance of a home inventory after a loss.

With all the technology we have today, you shouldn’t feel like this is a monumental job. Creating a home inventory can be as simple as walking around your new property and filming your valuables with a smartphone. Also, there are several helpful apps that you can use to document and categorize your valuables.

Here are five tips to keep in mind when creating your home inventory:

 

Don’t get overwhelmed.

A decade ago, you would’ve had to use expensive camera equipment in order to create a home inventory, but that’s no longer the case. Most cellphones today have video capacity, so creating an inventory is as simple as hitting record and walking around your house.

“This does not have to be beautiful, perfectly lit or even that lengthy,” says Jason Hargraves, managing editor at insuranceQuotes.com. “Remember, you’re taking an inventory, not making a documentary.”

Know what qualifies as a “valuable.”

When creating an inventory, most people understand that things like jewelry and laptops need to be documented, but there are other items around your home that you might not immediately think of as a “valuable.” Even if they’re older, be sure to film all your furniture and electronics, as well as smaller personal items that may be in closets or drawers. The cost of those will add up if an insurance adjuster is trying to determine what you should be compensated for in the event of a fire.

Use an app.

Encircle, Belongings and Stuffanizer are just a few of the more popular inventory apps available right now. They all come with their own set of features and levels of usability, so take a look at some reviews and find out which is right for you. Keeping your home inventory stored on a drive in your home is the last thing you’d want in the event of a disaster. You should always back your home inventory up on a cloud service, but apps also have the benefit of allowing you to access your inventory from anywhere by logging into a phone that has the app downloaded onto it.

“They say there’s an app for just about everything, and that goes for taking a home inventory, as well,” says Hargraves. “If an app is the route you want to go, just pick one that you’ll be most comfortable using. Even the most basic app should suffice for a home inventory.”

Get a rider for expensive items.

When dealing with things like jewelry, rare antiques and high-end art, you should first have an insurance rider, which is additional coverage offered at an extra cost for your homeowner’s policy. For items that are worth thousands of dollars, you should still shoot a video from as many angles as possible, but you can’t rely on the inventory alone. Hargraves suggests taking photos or videos of any appraisals related to these items and documenting them digitally, as well.

Don’t fret too much over your wardrobe.

Of course, if you have expensive dresses or suits, be sure to film these and take the time to point out the labels, but it’s not worth it to sit and document every piece of clothing you own. Take a simple video of what’s inside your closet so an insurance adjuster will have an idea of the amount of clothes and shoes you own.

“If you have replacement insurance instead of actual cash value, you might want to take care to document any super high-end items,” says Hargraves. “However, if your wardrobe is full of the latest couture, you might want to consider a policy rider.”

With a home inventory, you’re preparing for worst-case scenarios. Most people don’t like to even think about their new home being involved in a disaster, so folks will often push it out of their mind and never create a home inventory. However, if you follow the tips above and create a simple account of your valuables, you’ll be prepared to present your inventory to an insurance adjuster should it ever be necessary.

 

Jameson Doris – RISmedia Housecall    Jan 30 2018

 


Posted on February 2, 2018 at 11:58 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Home TIPS |

How To Hire a Remodeling Contractor

homerenovation.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shop around for the right company.

  • Get at least three written estimates.
  • Ask for and check references. If possible, look at jobs the contractor recently completed.
  • Check with your local chamber of commerce or Better Business Bureau for complaints.
  • Be sure that the contractor has the necessary licenses and insurance, as well as the ability to obtain permits.
  • Ask if the contractor’s workers will do the entire job or whether subcontractors will be involved.

Read the contract carefully.

  • Be sure the contract states exactly what is to be done and how change orders will be handled.
  • Check that the contract states when the work will be completed and what recourse you have if it isn’t.
  • Make sure the contract indemnifies you if work does not meet building codes or regulations.
  • Be sure that the contract specifies who will clean up after the job and be responsible for any damage.
  • Ensure that the materials meet your specifications.

Seal the deal.

  • Remember that you can often cancel a contract within three business days of signing it.
  • Make a small down payment so you won’t lose much if the contractor fails to complete the job.

Don’t make the final payment until you’re satisfied with the work.

 

National Assn of Realtors – REALTOR magazine

 


Posted on January 22, 2018 at 10:25 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buying and Selling, Home TIPS |

How to Hold a Successful Garage Sale

 

Garage sales can be a great way to get rid of clutter and earn a little extra cash before you move.  But make sure you plan ahead;  they can take on a life of their own.

Don’t wait until the last minute.

Depending on how long you’ve lived in your home and how much stuff you want to sell, planning a garage sale can take a lot of time and energy. And that’s on top of the effort of putting your home on the market!

 

Contact your local government.

Most municipalities will require you to obtain a permit in order to hold a garage sale. They’re often free or cheap, but the fines for neglecting to obtain one can be hefty.

 

See if neighbors want to join in.

You can turn your garage sale into a block-wide event and lure more shoppers. However, a permit may be necessary for each home owner, even if it’s a group event.

 

Schedule the sale.

Sales on Saturdays and Sundays will generate the most traffic, especially if the weather cooperates. Start the sale early — 8 or 9 a.m. is best — and be ready for early birds.

 

Advertise.

Place an ad in the newspaper, free classified papers, and websites, including the date(s), time, and address of the garage sale. Add information about what will be available, such as kids’ clothes, furniture, or special equipment. On the day of the sale, use balloons and signs with prominent arrows to grab attention.

 

Price your goods.

Clearly mark rounded prices (50 cents, 3 for $1, or $5, for example) with easily removable stickers.

 

If it’s junk, recycle or donate it.

If it’s truly garbage, throw it away or place it in a freebie bin. Don’t try to sell broken appliances, and have an electrical outlet nearby in case a customer wants to try plugging something in.

 

Display items nicely.

Organize by category, and don’t make customers dig through boxes.

 

Stock up on supplies.

Having a stock of old shopping bags that can be reused encourages people to buy more items. Newspapers are handy for wrapping fragile goods.

 

Manage your money.

Obtain ample change for your cash box, and have a calculator on hand.  Assign one person to man the “register,” keeping a tally of what was purchased, and for how much.

 

NAR – REALTOR Magazine


Posted on January 15, 2018 at 5:01 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Sellers |

Questions to Ask When Considering Selling

 dream_home_good_deal.jpg

 

 

These questions will help you decide whether you’re ready for a home that’s larger or in a more desirable location. If you answer yes to most of the questions, you may be ready to move.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you built substantial equity in your current home?

Check your annual mortgage statement or call your lender to find out how much you’ve paid down. Usually you don’t build up much equity in the first few years of your mortgage, as monthly payments are mostly interest. But if you’ve owned your home for five or more years, you may have significant, unrealized gains.

 

Has your income or financial situation changed?

If you’re making more money, you may be able to afford higher mortgage payments and cover the costs of moving. If your income has decreased, you may want to consider downsizing.

 

Have you outgrown your neighborhood?

The neighborhood you pick for your first home might not be the same one in which you want to settle down for good. You may have realized that you’d like to be closer to your job or live in a better school district.

 

Are there reasons why you can’t remodel or add on?

Sometimes you can create a bigger home by adding a new room or building up. But if your property isn’t large enough, your municipality doesn’t allow it, or you’re simply not interested in remodeling, then moving to a bigger home may be your best option.

 

Are you comfortable moving in the current housing market?

If your market is hot, your home may sell quickly and for top dollar, but the home you buy will also be more expensive. If your market is slow, finding a buyer may take longer, but you’ll have more selection and better pricing as you seek your new home. Ask your real estate professional what they see happening locally.

 

Are interest rates attractive?

Low rates help you buy “more” home, and also make it easier to find a buyer for your current place.

 

Is the effort and cost of maintaining your current home becoming difficult to manage?

A REALTOR ® can help you decide whether a smaller house, condo, or rental would be appropriate.

 

 

REALTOR magazine –  National Association of Realtors


Posted on January 8, 2018 at 7:44 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Sellers |

How To Prepare for House-Hunting

 

Know that there’s no “right” time to buy.

If you find the perfect home now, don’t risk losing it because you’re trying to guess where the housing market and interest rates are going. Those factors usually don’t change fast enough to make a difference in an individual home’s price.

Don’t ask for too many opinions.

It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of the people who will actually be living in the home.

 

 

Accept that no house is ever perfect.

If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go. Also, accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will most likely pass.

 

Don’t try to be a killer negotiator.

Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or refusing to budge may cost you the home you love.

 

Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself that you forget about important issues such as noise level, access to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.

 

Plan ahead.

Don’t wait until you’ve found a home to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance, or consider a moving schedule. Being prepared will make your bid more attractive to sellers.

 

Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation.

A home is still considered a great investment, but its most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.

 

REALTOR magazine, National Association of Realtors    January 2018


Posted on January 5, 2018 at 8:26 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buyers |

Single Family Homes by Area – SOLD in December 2017

Source:  iTech MLS

   Location # Homes Average Average Average  Avg.  Days
 SOLD Square Ft. Price/SF    List   Price   On Market SP % LP
La Canada 16 2469 $ 718 $ 1,723,156 51 99.78%
Montrose 1 1006  $ 616 $ 599,000 5 103.42%
La Crescenta 19 1600 $ 563 $ 830,895 42 102.35%
Tujunga  14 1553 $ 424 $ 610,486 44 103.21%
Sunland  15 1602 $ 449 $ 644,133 26 100.89%

 

 


Posted on January 2, 2018 at 10:10 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Market Stats |

You Only Think It’s True: 10 Myths Costing You Time and Money

 

Save your cash for more important things, like, you know, your mortgage.

 

 

 

You can’t swing a tool belt without hitting a website or TV network offering tips on taking care of your digs. Save money by watering your lawn at night! No, water it in the morning! No, dig it up and replace it with a drought-hardy meadow!

Throw in the info you pick up from well-meaning friends and there’s a sea of home care truisms out there, some of which can sink your budget.

 

 

Myth 1: Stone Countertops Are Indestructible

Marble, quartz, travertine, soapstone, and limestone can all be stained. Regular household cleaners can dull their surfaces over time. And marble is maddeningly fragile — it’s the prima donna of stone.

It’s easy to scratch. It’s easy to stain. Here’s the worst part: Mildly acidic substances like soda, coffee, lemon juice, even hard water will eat into marble, creating a cloudy, dull spot in a process known as etching.

“Spill a glass of wine on a marble counter and go to bed without cleaning it, the next morning you’ll have a problem,” says Louwrens Mulder, owner of Superior Stone in Knoxville, Tenn.

And while stone counters won’t crack under a hot pot, such direct heat can discolor quartz or marble, says Mulder. So be nice to your counters, no matter what they’re made of. And note that the best rock for your buck is granite. “It doesn’t stain or scratch. It’s tough because it’s volcanic rock,” Mulder says. Which means it can stand up to all the merlot and barbecue sauce you can spill on it.

Myth 2: Your Smoke Detector’s Test Button Is Foolproof

Fact: The test button doesn’t tell you what you really need to know.

Yes, check your smoke detector twice a year. But all that test button will tell you is whether the alarm sound is working, not if the sensor that detects smoke is working. Pretty key difference there.

The best way to check your device is with real smoke. Light a long, wooden kitchen match, blow it out, and hold it near the unit. If the smoke sets off the alarm, it’s working. If not, replace the batteries. If it still doesn’t work, you need a new smoke detector. And replace those batteries once a year anyway, because dead batteries are the No. 1 reason smoke detectors fail.

 

Myth 3: Gutter Guards Are Maintenance-Free

Fact: You gotta clean gutter guards, too.

Gutter guards keep out leaves, but small debris like seeds, pine straw, and flower buds will still get through.

Gutter guards can lessen your work, though — sometimes a lot. Instead of shoveling out wheelbarrow loads of leaves and other crap twice a year, you might just need to clean them every two years. But if there are lots of trees in your yard, once a year might be necessary.

  

Myth 4: A Lemon Is a Great Way to Clean a Disposal

Fact: While wanting to use natural cleaners is admirable, all of them will damage your disposal and pipes over time.

The lemon’s acidic juice will corrode the metal parts of your disposal. The mixture of salt and ice contains metal-eating acid, too. The coffee grounds are abrasive enough to clean the gunk off the blades and make it smell like a cup of americano, but they’ll accumulate in pipes and clog them.

The best natural cleaner for your disposal is good old baking soda. It’s mildly abrasive so it will clean the blades, but it’s a base, not an acid, and won’t damage the metal. Best of all, a box with enough baking soda big enough to clean your disposal twice costs less than a buck.

 

Myth 5: Mowing Your Lawn Super Short Means You’ll Mow Less Often

Fact: You might not have to mow as often, but your lawn will look like awful.

Cut that grass under an inch high, and you’ll never have to mow again because your grass will die. Mowing a lawn down to the root — a screw-up known as scalping — is like cutting all the leaves off a plant.

Grass blades make and store your lawn’s energy. Removing more than 1/3 of the length of the blade will leave your grass too weak to withstand weeds and pests. It also exposes the roots to the sun, causing the lawn to dry out quickly. Leave 1 to 3 inches of grass above the roots to keep your lawn lush.

 

Myth 6: CFLs Cost Too Much, and Are Dangerous

Fact: CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) have come down in price since they first hit the market and don’t contain enough mercury to cause any harm.

You can buy one now for as low as $3.  Replacing one incandescent bulb with a CFL will save nearly $60 a year for the lifetime of the bulb, says Consumer Reports. CFLs last an average of 5 years, so one bulb can save $300. A houseful of them, say 20, will save $600 each year.

And CFLs are a safe option. They actually lower your exposure to mercury indirectly, because they use 70 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs. That means the coal-fired power plants that spew 340 million pounds of mercury into the air each year won’t have to run as long to keep our houses lit. Fewer toxins, lower power bills. What’s not to love?

 

Myth 7: A Trendy Kitchen Re-Do Will Increase My Home’s Value

Remember those Tuscan-style kitchens with mustard gold walls, ornate cabinets, and medieval-looking light fixtures that were the must-have of the late ‘90s and early aughts?

Today, they’re as dated as flip phones. Instead of remodeling in the latest look, which costs $22,000 on average, try repainting in on-trend colors, which costs $1,700 on average. If you do opt for a full remodel, choose elements like Shaker cabinets, wood floors, and subway tile, a timeless style you’ll love 10 years from now.

 

Myth 8: A Contractor Recommendation From a Friend Is Good Enough

Fact: Good contractors have more than just your buddy to vouch for them.

Your neighbor’s rec is a good start, but talk to a couple of sources before you hire anyone. Check the contractor’s reviews on Angie’s List or other online rating sites.

Ask a local building inspector which contractors meet code on the properties they inspect. Ask the contractor for the names of past clients you can talk to, how many other projects they have going, how long they’ve worked with their subcontractors, and if they routinely do projects the size of yours.

Look at this as a job interview where the contractor is an applicant and you’re the hiring manager. Make them show you they’re the guy or gal for the work.

 

Myth 9: Turning Off Your AC When You Leave Saves Energy

Fact: Turning off the air conditioner when you leave could actually cost you money.

That’s because when you turn it back on, all your savings will be lost as the unit works overtime to cool your hot house. A better way to save on utilities is to turn the thermostat up or down (depending on the season) 5 to 10 degrees when you leave, says home improvement expert Danny Lipford of todayshomeowner.com.

And the best option? “Install a programmable thermostat,” he says. Even better, buy one you can control remotely with your smartphone and adjust the temperature before you get home. Because thermostats you have to touch are so 1998.

 

Myth 10: Permits? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Permits

Fact: You do.

Let’s say your neighbor’s brother-in-law, Cecil, is an electrician. Cecil can rewire your kitchen in a weekend because he won’t inconvenience you with a permit. Should you hire Cecil? No. Building codes protect you. From Cecil. Getting a permit means an inspector will check his work to make sure he didn’t screw up.

Plus, if your house burns down in an electrical fire and your insurance company finds out the work was done without a permit, they won’t cover your loss. Check with your local planning or building department to find out if your project needs a permit. If it does, get one.

 

 

RISmedia’s HouseLogic   December 2017


Posted on December 26, 2017 at 11:44 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Home Design, Home TIPS |

Home-Buying in 2018: Purchase in the Winter or Wait Until Spring?

 

 

 

There are only a few weeks left in 2017, and if you’re looking for a house, you might be down to the wire. Should you go all in and purchase now or wait until the spring?

There are multiple things to consider before purchasing a house; location, square footage and style are just three of the many factors. Whether or not to buy a home during the winter or wait until the spring is something to consider, as well. Here are six reasons why it might be beneficial to buy before the flowers start to bloom.

 

 

 

 

You Face Less Competition in the Winter

Most Americans look for houses in the spring and buy in the summer. Approximately 50 percent of all homes are sold during the summer months. Why? Well, many people prefer to close on a home purchase and move when the children are out of school. That way, they’re established in the new house by the time the new school year starts. Many people also prefer to look when the weather is warmer and there is more daylight in the evening.

As a result, if you purchase in the winter, there will be less competition. Fewer buyers will be out there looking, so you’ll likely face less of a bidding war. Many people also want to close during the winter, as the spring market starts very early in the year.

Sellers Are Likely to Be Motivated

Because the majority of buyers purchase in the summer, sellers may be more motivated in the winter. This is especially true if they need to be out of the house due to a job relocation or other consideration with a specific time frame. A motivated seller is good news for a buyer. You can get them to sweeten the deal, either by coming down on the asking price or throwing in some goodies.

Does it look like the stove or refrigerator may need replacing soon, for example? You can ask the seller to purchase a new one as a condition of your purchase. The same goes for a number of other things you might have to upgrade or replace soon.

Interest Rates Are Likely to Rise Next Year

Interest rates, of course, have a large impact on your house payments. The higher the interest rate, the higher the payment will be. While the direction of interest rates is never certain, many observers think that interest rates will rise some time next year. The U.S. Federal Reserve, the government body that sets interest rates, meets several times per year. Not only that, but they meet multiple times a year and tend to hike interest rates in a strong economy to prevent inflation. They could raise interest rates several times next year. In other words, the sooner you buy, the lower the interest rate you can lock in is likely to be.

Housing Prices Are Climbing

In general, housing prices have been climbing steadily over the past several years in most areas of the country. That trend is expected to continue, fueled by the strong economy. If it does, housing prices are likely to be higher by the spring.

Each region and area varies, of course. It’s always wise to check the direction of housing prices in the location you want to buy in by contacting your real estate agent.

Inventory Shrinks in the Winter

Because fewer people look in the winter, many real estate agents and sellers act accordingly. They remove houses from the listing market in the winter, waiting for spring to come. There are approximately 10 percent fewer houses on the market in the winter.

You may have fewer housing options if you’re looking in the winter, but you can ask your real estate agent if they know of any homes that were on the market but withdrawn by sellers. If the sellers are planning on putting their homes on the market as spring approaches, you could be the early bird.

Should you purchase a home now or wait until it starts to get warmer outside? There are many things to think about. The decision depends on what is best for you and the home of your dreams. Happy hunting, in whatever year you choose!

 

Megan Wild      Dec 11, 2017 –  Housecall

Posted on December 16, 2017 at 5:53 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buyers |

Single Family Homes by Area – SOLD in November 2017

 

Source:  iTech MLS

   Location # Homes Average Average Average  Avg.  Days
 SOLD Square Ft. Price/SF    List   Price   On Market SP % LP
La Canada 13 3591 $ 712 $ 2,332,731 41 100.91%
Montrose 4 1791  $ 527 $ 814,000 28 102.15%
La Crescenta 20 1642 $ 543 $ 854,700 35 102.23%
Tujunga  16 1521 $ 467 $ 599,813 60 101.10%
Sunland  27 1535 $ 442 $ 615,389 55 98.49%

Posted on December 4, 2017 at 9:18 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Market Stats |