Buying a New House? 5 Things to Check Before Moving In




Buying a new house is an exciting process that marks a new chapter in life.  For many people, it’s fun to shop around and tour different properties. When you’re serious about purchasing a home, there are a few important parts of the property to check before you move in.


The Neighborhood
You should feel comfortable with the quality of the neighborhood, which will influence the value of your home.  Look at the condition of the other homes and check to see if people are loitering at different times of the day.  The house should also be in proximity to your job, or nearby schools if you have children.  Some individuals who don’t have a family may want to purchase a home in a good school district due to the impact that it’ll have on the value of the property.


Storage Space
The storage space that is available in the home influences how much clutter will be left out in the open. Look for plenty of storage space that is available in the bedroom closets or in the kitchen to ensure that you can comfortably fit everything that you own without feeling cramped.


Plumbing System
Run the faucets to inspect the water pressure and ask the owners if the pipes are insulated. Hire professionals to check if the radiators are working and if the hot water tank needs to be replaced soon.


The Roof
The roof is one of the more costly features of the home and protects the interior setting from damage due to environmental elements. Hire a professional roofer to determine the lifespan of the roofing material and if it needs any repairs. The tiles or shingles should be secure on the roof deck, and there shouldn’t be any leaks present.


Sufficient Drainage
Many buyers make the mistake of overlooking the drainage on the property, but it can cause issues if not in good shape. Insufficient drainage can lead to severe structural problems in the home.


Although it can be easy to fall in love with a house, there are several areas to check before making an offer to ensure that you won’t run into problems down the road. By taking the time to inspect each part of the property, you can have peace of mind knowing you’re making a good investment.



By Kara Masterson –  RISMedia



Posted on April 18, 2017 at 7:39 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buyers |

Single Family Homes by Area – SOLD in March 2017


Source:  iTech MLS

   Location # Homes Average Average Average Avg. Days
SOLD Square Ft. Price/SF List Price On Market SP % LP
La Canada 26 3238 $ 681 $ 2,134,692 26 101.84%
Montrose 3 1856 $ 454 $ 812,666 61 102.71%
La Crescenta 22 1747 $ 546 $ 871,897 26 103.21%
Tujunga  12 1417 $ 461 $ 590,299 17 105.34%
Sunland  22 2130 $ 333 $ 673,898 31 99.73%

Posted on April 10, 2017 at 7:44 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Market Stats |

What to Look for in a House if You Plan to Age in Place


Look for details like these when designing or shopping for your forever home

 Traditional Exterior by Karnak Pro Builders
Karnak Pro Builders
Hunting for a house that will work for you now and allow you to stay safely and comfortably in your home as you grow older is no easy feat. If you’re looking to age in place, consider putting these 10 things on your home buying wish list to ensure you can happily stay in your home for many years to come.

Posted on April 10, 2017 at 7:07 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buyers, Home Design |

4 Popular Design Trends at Model Homes







1. Quartz countertops: Buyers are showing willingness to spend the most in upgrading their kitchens, and one of their first targeted upgrades tends to be the countertop, says Lesley McCarthy, Builders Design regional vice president. They’re opting for quartz over granite. Granite has become the standard in many new homes nowadays, but buyers are showing greater desire for the more environmentally friendly quartz countertops.

2. More windows: McCarthy also points to the increase in windows in homes. Many buyers want to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors and they’re turning to extra windows to get that feel.

3. Wider plank flooring: Hardwood and tiling floor are the most in demand, but consumers are opting for bigger plank widths and larger tiles. They’re also experimenting with greater color options in hardwood, and designers in some cases are showcasing greater options in engineered wood for its added durability.

4. Owner’s entries: Model homes are also showing off “drop zones,” but places for more than just to hang your coat or stow your shoes away. These “drop zones” are serving as places for your keys, electronics, and a central command post for automated systems.



Source: “Top Showroom Trends,” BUILDER (April 3, 2017)

Posted on April 4, 2017 at 8:15 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buying and Selling |

What to Look for in a House if You Have Kids

Your life at home with children will be easier if your house has some version of these features


If you have kids (or are planning to) and you’re shopping for a house, your what-to-look-for checklist is probably already a mile long. To avoid getting swamped by the home buying process, focus on what you really want from your home. Beyond the basics of location, price, condition and school district, what would really make a home a great fit for your family? Consider adding these 10 items to your home buying wish list.
Laura Gaskill, Houzz contributor – March 22, 2017

Posted on March 27, 2017 at 5:51 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buyers |

These Doors Can Modernize Your Listing’s Look

Barn doors leading to home office

Thinking of selling your home in the near future?   Consider these simple yet elegant options for dividing a space that increase its functionality while scoring design points.


A front door with pizzazz has always had a starring role in a home’s curb appeal. But lately, the doors inside a home are getting a closer look for their ability to add style and address design challenges. Strategically placed doors can offer privacy in open floor plan environments or increase the usability of cramped spaces.

Real estate pros Helen and Malte Strauss in Orlando, Fla., who also manage a staging blog, have used barn doors hung on sliding tracks above door frames and pocket doors, which tuck inside a wall, in several remodel and staging projects. “We use barn doors all the time in master bathrooms where there is a vanity area that is separate from the tub and commode area,” says Strauss, also a home stager.  In some older homes, vanities are located in the master bedroom rather than in the bathroom, a style that quickly can date a home. “Now we just close those off with a barn door, and buyers love that solution.”

She also recently used two barn doors hanging from each side of an open door frame to solve an open floor plan’s privacy issue.  The homeowners had built an addition off the living area that could be used as a guest bedroom, but they never installed a door to separate the bedroom from the main area. Strauss added the double barn doors so the space could be used as a guest bedroom or opened to expand the living area when not in use by a visitor. “It truly makes the room and provides an architectural interest to an otherwise bland wall,” she says.

But don’t be thrown off by the word “barn.”  Your listing doesn’t have to be country chic to benefit from this space saver.  The concept works in many styles, from walnut barn doors for traditional homes to galvanized metal doors for urban lofts, says Lynn MacMillan, with Gem Home Staging & Designs in St. Catharines, Ontario.  Pocket doors vary widely too, from all glass to all wood and from designs that stretch to the ceiling to those that are only waist-high.  Sliding doors can attach to a kitchen island and can be used to close off areas to pets or children when needed.

“I prefer using sliding doors in all my projects,” says designer and architect Lilian Weinreich in New York. Sliding glazed doors, she says, help create enlarged, obstruction-free bathrooms and walk-in dressing areas.

Homeowners needn’t break the bank on these door styles.  Costs vary, but barn doors start around $400 (with do-it-yourself installation). A pocket door can run about $550 (including installation and labor), depending on your local market.

But designers also point out the need for caution.  “You don’t want overkill with this trend.  A barn door is a statement piece. It’s artwork. You wouldn’t use it in every room,” says MacMillan.  But in moderation, barn and double-pocket doors “instantly elevate a home’s style in a way that will make others take notice.”



Melissa Dittman Tracey  –  REALTOR magazine, Jan 2017


Posted on March 20, 2017 at 4:26 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Home Design, Sellers |

Home Renovations That Can Hurt (and Help) Property Value

green shuttersIf you’re into renovation projects, then updating and revamping your home can be a lot of fun. But before you get too excited about knocking down walls and setting up a custom movie room, you might want to consider resale value. Flashy renovations don’t always yield the best returns, so you’ll need to take care when picking projects.

To make things easier for you, here are four remodels to avoid and four to invest in.


Remodels to Avoid

Luxury Rooms
An indoor basketball court, wine cellar, sauna, or even a movie theater won’t often recoup the high building costs. Luxury add-on rooms are hard to pitch to buyers unless you’re living in an upscale housing market—the average homebuyer won’t be willing to pay for them. Further, rooms that depend heavily on wired electronics, like home theaters, are hard to keep current because TVs and speakers are constantly advancing.

Swimming Pool
The average cost to build a pool is $39,084, a hefty price tag that is seldom recovered once the home is sold.  It’s widely accepted throughout the industry that a homeowner will lose money by adding a swimming pool.  Homebuyers don’t want to deal with the maintenance cost of a pool (which can cost as much as $2,000 a year), the added insurance premiums, and—if they have young kids—the safety issues.

Gaudy Accents
Though gold-plated crown molding or mosaic-tile backsplashes may feature prominently in your ideal vision for your home, they often turn out to be the average homebuyer’s worst nightmare.  Passing fads or niche trends rarely stick around long, so if you miss the brief window when your remodeling choices are in, you’ll end up paying for it later.

Changes Contrary to Area Standards
If you aren’t watching the trends common to your area, you could end up losing a lot of money.  A home that totals $600,000 after all the renovations won’t sell in a neighborhood where homes are netting half that price.  Likewise, knocking down the walls of extra bedrooms for an open layout won’t be appealing in a family-oriented neighborhood.


Remodels that Pay

Steel Doors
You don’t want to go cheap on a standard front door. At roughly $1,000, steel doors are comparatively affordable, durable, low maintenance and burglar resistant. As an added bonus, the National Association of Realtors reports that steel door upgrades show the highest return on investment of any home remodel, at over 100 percent of the cost.

Solar Panels
As the price of solar panels continues to drop, the energy payback on installing them is becoming greater and greater.  The average rooftop solar system is now paid off in 7.5 years.  After that, panels are a big money-saving asset.  A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory notes that homebuyers “consistently have been willing to pay more for a property” with solar panels—a premium of around $4 per installed watt, on average.

New Siding
The exterior of your house is the first thing potential homebuyers see when they come to your home, and you want to make the best first impression. This is part of the reason redoing your siding is so profitable.  New siding recoups around 80 percent of the initial cost, according to the National Association of Realtors®, thanks largely to the increased curb appeal and improved energy efficiency it provides.

Broadband Access
Access to broadband speeds is considered an essential utility for today’s connected homebuyer.  Research shows that faster internet speeds increase your home value by as much as 3 percent.  Homeowners can prepare their homes for higher broadband connectivity by working with area providers to install requisite equipment and wiring.  Building out wall ports and cable-hiding baseboards is a good move to attract buyers, too.

Even if you’re not considering selling your home just yet, keep potential selling benefits in mind.  Intrepid homeowners know that the best remodels will increase both quality of life and listing price, so take care to invest in projects that will net the biggest returns.

Brooke Nally  –  Housecall  Feb 23, 2017

Posted on March 15, 2017 at 9:12 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Home TIPS, Sellers |

High-Resale Value Projects You Can Tackle In A Weekend

kitchen“There’s no place like home,” as the old saying goes. That’s especially true when it comes to an investment.

You live in and love your home, but there might come a time when you have to leave it.  And when that time comes, you’ll want to get as much money as you can for your property so you can move onward — and upward.

In order to increase your abode’s value, you might think you have to put in a ton of time, effort and money, but that’s not entirely true. Instead, you can take on weekend projects over time to spruce the place up so when it’s time to sell, you have a completely updated property that’ll end up selling itself.

Ready to get to work?  Roll up your sleeves and start on one of the following five weekend projects.

1. Repaint Your Kitchen Cabinets

When it comes to smart investment in your home, the kitchen is one of the best places to start.  Buyers expect kitchens to be updated. Stone countertops, stainless appliances and sleek flooring all make a space feel modern.  Obviously, these changes require a lot of money and, sometimes, a lot of time.  That’s why you can tackle it in bits and start first with your cabinets.

Old wooden cabinets with equally dated hardware — think oak doors with shiny brass handles — don’t require a complete gut job. Instead, spend a weekend repainting them a more neutral hue. Finish the project off with new metallic knobs and pulls to complete the modernized look.

2. Make the Eye Go up With Crown Molding

Most homes have roughly the same ceiling heights, but there’s a little trick to make yours look bigger — crown molding.  Yes, that white line at the top of your painted walls will draw eyes upward, making the room appear airier than it may very well be.

The project is easy enough to complete, too.  You might not be able to install molding throughout your entire home over a single weekend, but you can certainly tackle the project on a room-by-room basis.  Again, start with the spaces likely to draw in the most money:

  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Living spaces
  • Master bedrooms

These tend to be the make-or-break rooms when it comes to a big purchase.   Crown molding adds a bit of detail, a feeling of luxury that’ll certainly add to the bottom line.

3. Boost Curb Appeal — and Backyard Bonuses

No one will come in your home unless the first impression is stunning. Another DIY project should be a landscape overhaul of your front yard.  It can be something as simple as adding a path of pavers to your front yard or sprucing up your flowerbeds with colorful blooms.  All of this will catch the eye of potential buyers — and fatten up the bottom line of the offers they make.

Another easy fix — your garage door.  If it’s street-facing, it’s another area for prospective buyers to look at, and it has a great return on investment.

You don’t have to stop with the front of your home.  Especially if you live in a climate that permits lots of outdoor activity, you’ll want a backyard to match. Some may require you rent or buy tools for landscaping and other applications, but imagine the payoff with, for example, the beauty of a functioning fire pit in your backyard. Not only will you be able to enjoy it while you’re still living in your home, but potential buyers will easily be able to envision themselves sitting around a fire.

4. Beautify the Bathrooms

Bathrooms have a big effect on buyers.  They expect clean, modern updates, just like in the kitchen.  Overhauling your powder room is an easy weekend task that might require small swaps, such as a new modern light fixture over the vanity or a new vanity altogether.

Your full bathrooms will require a bit more attention if you want them to be up to snuff. Again, look in the familiar places:

  • Lighting fixtures
  • Cabinets
  • Hardware
  • Countertops
  • Tile

You don’t have to shell out a ton of money to have someone else re-tile a wall or backsplash in your bathroom, either, if you have the patience to demo and tile the space yourself.

5. Out With the Really Old

Some accents once considered fresh and fashionable now give your home a dated appearance. You probably already know what in your home screams 70s, 80s or 90s. Whatever it is should go in due course.

The list of outdated design elements is truly endless, but some of the biggest offenders are old-school wallpaper, the floor-to-ceiling wood paneling that may or not be actual wood, and, of course, popcorn ceilings.  By removing these three offenders alone — a popcorn ceiling doesn’t take much effort — your home will snap right back into 2017.

Once people start envisioning themselves living in your home, you won’t have to envision offers pouring in — they’ll start coming thanks to your hard work. You go, weekend warrior.


 Megan Wild – RIS Media’s Housecall    March 1, 2017

Posted on March 7, 2017 at 7:11 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Buying and Selling |

Single Family Homes by Area – SOLD in February 2017


Source:  iTech MLS

   Location # Homes Average Average Average Avg. Days
SOLD Square Ft. Price/SF List Price On Market SP % LP
La Canada 12 3650 $ 610 $ 2,315,225 58 96.58%
Montrose 2 1030 $ 614 $ 629,000 44 100.56%
La Crescenta 16 1806 $ 492 $ 829,906 45 102.19%
Tujunga  15 1321 $ 432 $ 528,547 65 100.29%
Sunland  14 1918 $ 382 $ 652,925 71 99.22%

Posted on March 5, 2017 at 6:16 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Market Stats |

Single Family Homes by Area – SOLD in January 2017


Source:  iTech MLS

   Location # Homes Average Average Average Avg. Days
SOLD Square Ft. Price/SF List Price On Market SP % LP
La Canada 12 3661 $ 624 $ 2,122,366 68 102.40%
Montrose 4 1107 $ 615 $ 656,750 44 102.02%
La Crescenta 18 1642 $ 556 $ 867,272 57 99.70%
Tujunga  13 1361 $ 413 $ 523,603 52 102.02%
Sunland  16 1697 $ 405 $ 625,050 71 100.69%

Posted on February 27, 2017 at 8:41 pm
Jana Ace R Wunderlich | Posted in Market Stats |