Home Buyer Turn-Offs

Don’t Repel Your Home Buyer…

Many home sellers don’t know the art of attracting the home buyer and in turn end up repelling potential candidates. As agents, we know you are eager beaver types want to move to close yesterday —we do too—but if you do these top “don’t” you may end up turning away buyers instead of closing the deal. Here is a list of home buyer turn-offs that you will want to avoid. If you have a good real estate agent to guide you in the process, you probably won’t make these mistakes. But just in case…

Top Five Home Seller No-No’s…

1.) Bad Home Listing Photos

Highlight your home in the best light so buyers do show up to the open house. Highlight the best features of the home. But also, accurately represent the home in the photo. Check with your agent as to how s/he lists pictures, look at some current listings. If you skip this step and you do use a poorly lit, blurry or just plain bad photo, here’s what may happen:

  • A Bad Photo Will Turn Away a Client
  • A Bad Photo May Misrepresent the Home – A Disaster
  • A Bad Photo May Not Accurately Align with the Price

2.) Hovering Home Seller

Don’t be a hovering over-eager home seller. Your enthusiasm may translate to desperation. Your best bet is not to attend the open house – let your Realtor® objectively show the home. Trust your broker here. If you insist on being at the open houses, buyers may feel pressured and not free to express what they like or don’t like. Let your Realtor® run the show. So the bottom line…

  • Stay Out of the Way of the Sale

3.) Dirty Dens Don’t Dazzle

Over-cluttered and dirty homes are the fastest home buyer turn-off. Do a walk through with your agent and get a real assessment on the cleanliness and spaciousness on the home. Again your Realtor® can be more objective than you can and hopefully s/he is an expert of home staging – See more on this in a recent article, The Art of Home Staging.

  • Hire a Professional Home Cleaner Before Showing
  • Hire a Realtor® Who is a Home Staging Expert

4.) Your Taste vs. My Taste … Stay Neutral

Home fixes and upgrades are a great idea right before listing a home. Sure it’s a great idea to do a countertop upgrade from Formica to Granite or maybe replace the faucet fixtures in the bathroom. However, one mistake home sellers make is making upgrades according to their own tastes as ifthey were buying the home. So if you are going to paint the living room, crimson may not be the best bet. Tiling the bathroom? Pepto-Bismol pink —while you may love it—may not appeal to most buyers’ tastes. So remember…

  • Stay Neutral!

5.) A Realtor Who Inspires Confidence

  • Finally and perhaps the best tip of them all to avoid turning off potential home buyers is:
  • Find a Real Estate Agent You Believe In

Actually this is the easiest step. But if you don’t where to start, ask friends for referrals. Do your research and follow these tips from this blog. Now you can’t go wrong – Happy home selling!

If you are a prospective home seller , it is paramount that you have confidence in your real estate agent. The agent you choose can often determine how successful your listing is. Communication, experience and honesty should be the first qualities you look for so that you can be assured that you will be realistically and honestly guided through the sale process. If you are ready to list your home in Westlake Village or surrounding communities or for more articles like this, visit the Web Site or contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.

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The Art of Home Staging

In order to get an offer on your home, you need to first impress a potential buyer in a way that will make him or her envision a future life in that home. What is the best way to do this? The absolute best advice is to get a Realtor who is a home staging expert. Staging the home in a way that a prospect will absolutely start to imagine living there is an art form. It’s not a matter of arranging furniture necessarily. It’s more about knowing what buyers look for, what they dream about and then giving them a small slice of that picture.

A Realtor Who Sets the Stage for Home Sale

As an experienced Realtor, I have decades of experience as a home staging expert. Having helped sellers throughout Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, and all over the Conejo Valley, I know how to sell quickly – particularly with the help of little masterful home staging. The truth is it really is an art form of sorts. It really takes a keen eye –your Realtor needs to know the trade secrets which only truly get more refined with experience. But I can assure you, a well-staged home can make a huge impact on the “feeling” conveyed during a walk through and ultimately the entire home’s presentation. If you are about to list your home, make sure you talk with an agent about their home staging experience. It can really be the difference between a quick sell to close experience or a stagnant listing. Below are some tips on staging. While just a a brief synopsis of the process, at least you will know what better to look for when you have a home staging conversation with a potential Realtor.

1. A Pristine Parlor

The first easy, but often overlooked step is to clean the house so well that you can eat off the floors. No matter how beautifully the room is arranged, potential buyers certainly don’t envision sweeping the floors as their new dream home fantasy. A few crumbs scattered on the floor or errant dust balls can absolutely destroy a perfectly pristine, picturesque setting. Before you arrange the furniture just right, each room in your home should be spotless. A professional home cleaner is indicated here – leave no stone unturned, no counter dusty. The carpets must be steam cleaned and all upholstery cleaned and deodorized. Ideally, you should also add a fresh coat of paint in all the rooms.

2. Simple and Spacious

Keep it simple. Scale back the furniture – make the rooms look modern, minimalist, and spacious. Why should you not fill a room with your gorgeous antiques and ornate furniture? It doesn’t allow a buyer to dream about the possibilities and too much furniture can make a room look small. Says an article on Realtor.com, less is more.

Make sure buyers appreciate the size of each room by removing one or two pieces of furniture. If you have an eat-in dining area, using a small table and chair set makes the area seem bigger.

3. Paint a Picture

Certain added touches to a room will draw the eye right toward it. You should aim to highlight the “possibility” of luxury, not the personality of the present owner – who by the way is leaving, not the story you want to tell. For instance, luxury bath soaps in the bathroom on a shell dish or clean spa scented candles will affect one type of buyer. A fireplace with the logs artfully placed will give just a touch of the Rockwell appeal to a different type of prospect – this works especially well in a room where the fireplace is the centerpiece. Add fresh flowers to the foyer for example or perhaps, in a well-lit home, change out the drapes with sheer curtains. Even an artsy umbrella stand with wooden handled umbrellas at the door and saysRealtor.com an “in process chess game” especially on an expensive Brooks Brothers Chess board, paints a very specific picture.

A Narrative and a Winning Track Record

This is just a sliver of how home staging can drastically change the ‘narrative’ of the home story you are attempting to tell and ultimately the home you wish to sell. In the final analysis however, you really need to work with the right Realtor® who is not only a staging expert, but also knows the community, the potential buyers in that market, and has a proven winning track record in that very market.

If you are looking for a Realtor® with the aforementioned staging expertise and proven home sales track record, Westlake Village Real Estate is top ranked. Getting ready to list your home in Westlake Village, Agoura Hills or a surrounding community? Contact Lydia Gable at Westlake Village Real Estate today for an appointment.

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“Do-It” Upgrades to Sell Your Home

Is your home stuck in the 70s but you want it to sell well in 2014? If you are ready to sell your home now and feel the need for upgrade projects to increase the chances of listing success, there aresome ideas that are more worthy than others. A word of advice before you start: Take into account long-term projects v. short term ones – in other words some larger projects can turn into behemoth jobs that will actually delay the home listing. So plan accordingly. Also some projects just don’t pan out when it comes to investment v. selling price. Below are the top must-do projects that can increase your home sale price and add to the beauty and appeal of your home when showing.

  1. Upgrade Your Kitchen: One Piece at a Time

Most homeowners think they have to undergo a complete kitchen renovation, to modernize a very outdated kitchen tile or linoleum. But it can really be as simple as painting the kitchen cabinets or changing the counter tops to granite. A recent article on Yahoo Homes titled,Selling your home? Three projects you should and shouldn’t tackle, quotes Erica Lugbill, the owner and lead designer of Lugbill Designs, a Chicago-based residential design firm. Erica recommends some easy tips that can be done on a budget:

Focus on small “face-lift” projects, such as painting your cabinets, switching out your hardware, installing a tile backsplash, or replacing the countertops…You can go to a stone remnant yard where there is often a large selection of discount pieces of granite or quartz that can be installed for a fraction of the cost.

  1. Up on the Roof

If you can potential buyers can see the roof of the home when they drive up and your roof is currently shabby, it may be time to make some repairs to move from shabby to chic. You’d be surprised what a beautiful roof can do when it comes to curb appeal. If there are fix-it issues like leaks or damage, definitely fix these as it will be more than an eye-sore issue but one of home inspection and could derail the sale. But beyond the practical elements, a cosmetic upgrade—which is actually a low cost remodel—will do wonders for your home sale.

  1. A Bathroom Redo: Don’t Flush Away Your Money

Instead of redoing an entire bathroom, knobs, cabinets or even a pedestal sink can make a big difference. If your bathroom tile is atrocious, you may need to replace it but if you do this, keep it neutral. The potential buyer will have his or her own taste anyway and may decide to renovate in which case you will have wasted an investment. Better to go for a repaint or vanity replacement to make some subtle changes but save money.

Upgrade Don’ts…

Try to avoid larger-scale projects – the kind that start out with good intentions but can turn into giant month-long overhauls. Room additions, master bedroom renovations and sun deck add-ons are probably not worth it. And, look at the cold hard truth, says the Yahoo Home article:

A room addition might sound like a great idea, until you realize that doing so could cost you as much as $100,000. In fact, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2011-2012 Cost vs. Value Report, a master suite could cost over $106,000, while adding a family room could run you around $83,000.

If you are unsure, ask around. See what’s hot in the neighborhood. Are your neighbors having to do upgrades to sell or their homes or are properties flying off the market faster than the inventory? And lastly, if you work regularly with a Realtor you trust, give her a call. Ask her about curb appeal and the current trendy must-haves at open houses – no one knows better about home sales than someone who’s doing it daily!

An award-winning Realtor®, Lydia Gable is a Realtor who pays special attention to maintaining diligent communication with clients to assure a successful home sale. Lydia Gable lives and works in the community. If you have any questions related to this topic or if you are interested in buying or selling a home in and around Westlake Village, contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.

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Find the Right Real Estate Agent: 5 Questions to Ask

Realtors ®, like with professionals in any field, come with different styles, attitudes and personalities. Real estate agents in Ventura County California are no different than those in Suffolk County in Massachusetts, Maricopa County in Arizona or any other area for that matter – fill in the blanks. Beyond the obvious—people obviously have different styles and personalities—every real estate agent has one commonality, a reputation in the community. Most agents place a great deal of value on reputation but don’t take that fact for granted. A recent article in theHuffington Post points out the importance of knowing as much as you can for several reasons:

The reputation of your Realtor® will either save you money, time, energy and stress — or cause tremendous aggravation and potentially ruin a deal for you.

In addition to reputation, personal style and approach is also important. Both reputation and personal style matter – some would say equally. For instance, the agent might be an aggressive bull dog in the home selling business, but unlikable. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of likeability. You will be spending a good amount of time with this person. And if you don’t like him or her, chances aren’t the only one. Here are some important questions to ask when choosing a real estate agent for your home sale or purchase.

  1. How Many Homes Did You Sell Last Year? At Asking Price?

Your Realtor® should be eager to answer this. If he or she bristles at the query, or the answer isn’t exactly what you’d hoped, it’s curious. Follow up. And if you’re still sold on working with this agent, ask for recent testimonials.

  1. In which neighborhoods do you work? And where do you live in relation to the neighborhoods?

This may seem a bit much but it’s important to know how familiar your agent is with the area. In some cases, the agent may live and work in the area, big plus signs and indicators of knowledge, reputation and success. Ask!

  1. How many other buyers are you representing? How many sellers?

An article in Forbes titled, How To Vet A Real Estate Agent: 10 Questions To Ask Before Hiringsuggests that there is bigger reason than simple statistics behind question three:

Hint: the busiest agents often are the most efficient.

  1. How long have you been in real estate? Is it your full-time job?

An article on RealtorMag says that while this is the determining factor, experience should hold some weight in your decision. And suggests the article…

While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate — like many other professions — is mostly learned on the job.[And ask] Could you please give me the names and phone numbers of your three most recent clients? Ask recent clients if they would work with this REALTOR® again. Find out whether they were pleased with the communication style, follow-up, and work ethic of the REALTOR®.

  1. What are your marketing techniques?

You can’t afford to hire an agent who is not utilizing the best marketing strategies. In an age where social media is everything, the Realtor® should have a mobile and online strategy in addition to signs and print ads.

An award-winning Realtor®, Lydia Gable has consistently been in the top two percent of Realtors® nationwide. With an emphasis on diligent communication with clients and the use of cutting-edge technology, she helps move the transaction process along in order to secure the best possible price.Lydia Gable lives and works in the community. If you are interested in buying or selling a home in and around Westlake Village,contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.

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At Home: 2015 Interiors Trends

Often the path to a new home starts right where you are – at home. As we usher yet another fall season, as the leaves change and another year passes, renewal is right around the corner. It’s a good time to change, throw out the old, and find new ways to express yourself through your home design. So I thought it would be nice to share the home interior trends for 2015. Just a few ideas that you may not have thought of that could allow you to make some small changes in the home either to give you a boost of new or to prepare for a home sale in the near future. Last year we did a similar article which was well received. So once again, here are the thoughts of experts – a forecast of the trends in home interiors for 2015.

The Blues ‘with a Modern Twist’

Elle Décor says the colors for the season are blues and olive green. However it’s not the muted sea blue palette of 2014. This is a ‘Greek blue’ as described in the article titled, The 2015 Color Trends You NEED to Know Now, a cerulean blue says Alessandra Branca.

The combinations of greens, plums, cerulean blue, beiges and whites- and the mixing of patterns and textures, as seen in many Renaissance paintings.
Alessandra Branca, Branca Interiors

I’m seeing a lot of deep rich blues with a glossy finish—often paired with white for a surprisingly modern twist on a classic.
Susanna Salk, Elle Decor Magazine Interior Design Manager, Today Show contributor, Author

At Home: Where Classic Meets Retro

Lushome says the ‘7 Modern Interior Trends in 2015’ are about ‘Reinventing Classic Luxury and Versatile Functionality’ – old meets new, lots of bold modern textures with antique accents.

Modern interior trends 2015 reinvent classy luxury, serenity, creative recycling and versatility in furniture design and interior decorating. Classic, retro and contemporary design ideas, traditional and new materials, fresh colors, exotic motifs, and surprising blend of textures…

Nature: Inside-Out

One big trend, that all the experts agree upon, is the idea of bringing nature and natural elements indoors. This was a theme in the 2014 forecast and it looks like it’s even more in-vogue for the coming year. In fact, the news coming out of this year’s StockholmFurnitureLightFair which takes place in February is all about one word: Nature. In their article, The Interior Trends 2014/2015, they state:

Natural materials, such as stone, wood and glass, dominate this style. Natural elements, represents a contemporary feeling in design and form, with natural materials in furniture and permanent fittings. An exciting mix of wood, metal and leather … Basket weave and other plaited details on furniture… Natural colors … Cold shades of brown, in combination with granite, and with hints of leafy green in nature’s color scheme.

Inspiration to Hang Your Hat On

Are you inspired? Are you ready to redo your entrance way or spruce up your living room with natural elements? Whether you are staying put this year or plan on selling, it’s definitely fun to dream about a “new” home. Either way make your home your blissful place because there was never a truer statement that home—no matter where you hang your hat—is where the heart is.

If you like what you’ve read or you’re interested in viewing home listings or would like to list your home, contact Lydia Gable today at Westlake Village Real Estate. If you are ready buy a new home or to sell your home in and around the Westlake Village area, call Lydia Gable at (818) 934- 8902.

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Setting Your Home Price to Sell

Setting the home price for optimal sale is sometimes the most difficult part of the realtor-client relationship, but perhaps the most important. This is why you always choose a realtor with whom you feel comfortable and one who you absolutely trust with your business. It’s also the reason many of my clients become friends. The trust is paramount to the process. However if you are new to home selling or you aren’t sure what the price should be, it can be a difficult decision as of course you want to protect your investment. A recent The Wall Street Journal outlined several different points of view on setting the home price. I thought I would share some of their interesting insights.

Setting Your Home Price: Is it Subjective?

One popular opinion about home listing, but not necessarily a mode I subscribe to, is to lowball the when setting the price. Alex Hickman told The WSJ that he lowballed and it worked.

Hickman set his asking price below market asking price for his neighborhood and got six offers in four days. Said Hickman:

We strategically listed it under market and tried to create kind of a frenzy.

But it should be noted that he went against his Redfin real estate agent. His agent, Rebecca Walter had told him this was a bad idea, one she initially counseled against. Walter says:

It creates a havoc that doesn’t serve anyone well. A low asking price doesn’t necessarily increase what buyers offer since they are more willing to compete on other terms of the contract.

Was she wrong or did Hickman just get lucky?

Listing Your Home: The Whole Picture

How important is it really that the list price be on target?

The first few weeks are the most important part of the listing. When a home is “launched” all eyes are on the property-agents, buyers & investors. Pricing is something that can’t be taken lightly. My closed sales track record show a 98.5% to list price which means setting the price to sell is indeed very important.

As for my approach, I subscribe to a more “whole picture” approach when it comes to setting a home listing for sale. A combination of detailed marketing, current housing market research, and buyer psychology, is more in line with my home-listing price philosophy. But ultimately, it’s my relationship with the individual clients and assessing their needs that drives my approach.

Do You Like Your Real Estate Agent?

In the end, everyone has an opinion but the one constant that I think you can’t ignore is the client-agent relationship. Always, choose a realtor whom you trust. Choose someone with whom you would be comfortable having a conversation. Choose an agent who lives and works in the neighborhood. And finally, choose someone with a proven track record. With all of the volatile aspects present in any housing market, these factors are absolutely under your control.

If you are ready to sell your home, contact Lydia Gable today. A top ranked real estate agent in Westlake Village, she can help you determine what your home is worth and then work together to price and pitch your home competitively and attractively for today’s market. Call Lydia Gable today at (818) 934-8902.

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Home Sales: Summer Isn’t Over Yet

It’s not too late to take advantage of the summer home-selling spree which typically amps up from May to August. Assuming you make the right choice by selecting an experienced real estate agent, you could be in a new home by summer’s end. Knowing how to out-list the competition and get your asking price is the first step. But there are many lesser known tips that can move the process long more expeditiously. A recent article in The Huffington Post, titled 6 Seller Secrets for This Summer’s Real Estate Market breaks down the summer home sale in a really accessible way. According to the article—next to choosing your real estate agent—the most important thing is to know your market and know your numbers. Said the feature:

Sixty percent of all homes in 2014 will be bought and sold from May to August.

The article goes on to say that you have the best chance if you put your home on the market at the beginning of the season. However while that is mostly true, you do stand a better chance, I don’t think that it’s so crucial in certain regions like Southern California where the rules can be broken slightly. So sellers, if you want to take advantage of summer home sale season, there’s still time…

Incidentally, I use all of these tips in my work with clients. So I thought I would share. Here are a few of their secrets to the “summer sell”.

  • The Price is Right … Or Is It?

Price it right, price it right! I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing how to price your home. For this you must be willing to have a good, honest conversation with a realtor who knows first-hand what works in the listing area! I live and work in Westlake Village, so when I price a home, I know exactly what I’m talking about. The key thing to remember, says the article:

Look back no more than 60 days. The sale price of homes that sold recently paints a much better picture of what to expect than the price of homes that sold six months ago.

  • Social Media Sells – Make It POP!

Make sure your listing pops on a computer AND on a smartphone. So many more buyers are looking up listings on their iPhone or iPad before they come out to buy. You can’t afford to skip this step. Ask your real estate agent if you can see other similar listings on your phone. Thu Huff Postpiece adds:

Great homes with mediocre quality photos will be quickly discarded and ultimately get less showings.

  • Manage Your Expectations

Don’t expect a bidding war on your home, says the author, Michael Corbett – they are not as common any more. But it is reasonable to expect your home to sell to one fantastic buyer for your desired asking price. While I still have bidding wars on “for sale” homes, he’s right it’s not the market of old. So really the ultimate goal is to SELL and sell well.

Lastly I would add, choose a realtor who knows the market and has weathered the rises and falls. And choose a realtor who really knows the area in which you are selling your home. There is no substitute for an experienced agent who walks the walk and talks the talk! You can’t teach experience…

Lydia Gable is an experienced real estate agent in Westlake Village with over a decade of experience. If you’re ready to sell your home, the real estate agent you choose could be a deciding factor in how quickly your property moves. In today’s world, the housing market is volatile and challenging. Choose an agent who will be with you every step of the way from listing to closing. Lydia Gable works strategically to position your home for sale right down to negotiating so you receive top dollar. Contact Lydia Gable today for a consultation.

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Summer 2014: The Secret to the Home Sale

In light of my recent article, Summer SoCal Housing Market Update: ‘Normal’, and after readingThe Huffington Post piece titled, 6 Seller Secrets for This Summer’s Real Estate Market, I thought it was the perfect time for a Part 2 to my summer update.

The Huffington Post article points out in part:

Right Now = A Great Time To Sell…Mortgage rates are still at historic lows, so buyers ARE poised to buy and ready to hit the streets.

It’s true – we are now in a very specific seller’s market and it’s likely to turn soon into a buyer’s market. So what are some seller secrets to optimize your listing, get your asking price, and close quickly… especially if you need to move before the kid’s return to school? Skipping the obvious— partner with a very experienced Realtor who knows the area and the market—here are a few tips from experts that I find highly beneficial if you’re ready to sell now.

The Price is Right! Come on Home!

Price your home right. This is such a key factor to a successful home sale and it all rests on choosing the right real estate agent. If you price your home too high or low it’s akin to building a home on quick sand. Says author, Michael Corbett, Trulia’s real estate and lifestyle expert, in TheHuffington Post piece:

This last quarter, prices started to slow nationally — and pricing is a critical component to getting your house sold. With this fluctuating market, you need to look at comps of similar homes in your area.

The Selling Season

Since it is summer, take advantage of that “given”. First, most people are probably hoping to move before the fall season. Also it’s the season to enjoy the outdoors so people are likely to pay more attention to local activities and outdoor fun in the prospective area. If it were Christmas you might have a Poinsettia plant in the foyer. It’s summer so highlight the activities near you – maybe the great schools and camps for children since they will be returning soon or the parks and nature trails surrounding the neighborhood. Take a look at my recent article on Westlake Village, Summer in Westlake Village is Hot, Hot Hot!. As you can see, this area would be irresistible to an nature-lover so you would highlight that in the sale. But no matter where you live, highlight the season. An article on BadgerRealty.com, quotes Karla Badger and suggests this important ‘summer selling tool’.

Just walking into a home with plenty of sunlight and plant-life brings a smile to my face. It allows the home to breath better and can freshen up the home [especially] if it’s been buttoned up all winter.’ Freshly cut grass give a better presentation for drive-bys and adding some flowers or flowering shrubs can complete the look to attract more buyers.

Drive Traffic To Your Open House Not the Beach…

Although this is a prime summer seller’s market, it also presents its challenges. Families have plans that don’t make searching for a home seem like a fun option. The weather is great so when it comes to choosing between the open house or the pool BBQ down the street, the temptation can lean toward relaxation and fun. So how do you ensure the open house is packed? Your realtor must have great online photos, real estate apps, and top marketing skills. Make certain to view your agent’s online listings and ask how they would market the home. Most home buyers now search with home buyer mobile apps. The listings should look stellar whether on iphone or on your computer.

Lydia Gable: Experience Counts

In this summer selling season, choose your realtor well, prepare the home, and just as important, the listing so you can be assured of an optimal sale. If all is done well, you should be ready to settle into your new dream home by the fall just in time for hot chocolate and lovely nights by the fire. Lastly, enjoy the summer and stay safe! Remember, if you need a realtor, choose one who lives and works in the area. Lydia Gable has over a decade of experience in real estate including in a volatile market. Contact Lydia Gable today. If you are searching for a luxury home in the Conejo Valley area, Lydia Gable is the smart choice. Read more here.

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Crowdfunding in Real Estate: A New Era of Investing

The Emergence of Crowdfunding in Real Estate

The emergence of crowdfunding as an investment tool for serious real estate players is changing the housing market as we know it. As the market recovers, more investors are coming back but one probably could not have imagined crowdfunding as the next new trend. Crowdfunding has showed up with quite a presence and backing and its making quite the first impression! If you thought crowdfunding was only reserved for the creative inventor or out-of-money filmmaker, you’re a step behind. Quite frankly, admittedly I had not even heard of this very new trend until recently. If it catches on, it could be a game-changer for those investors currently controlling the investment markets in certain areas. It’ll be interesting to see how “at your fingertips” a trade is, but the social media possibilities are exciting for sure.

Not Your Grandmother’s Real Estate Pool

At the moment, most of the crowdfunding sites are reserved for high-stakes players only, but that’s not likely to last according to market experts. While it’s certainly a new arena—one that is evolving quite rapidly—some platforms are beginning to open up the playing field to small-money investors. Because of this, the ramifications in terms of who can invest and international investing possibilities could be enormous. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal profiled one successful entrepreneur—a real estate pioneer when it comes to crowdfunding— who is taking it to the next level. The article titled, Real-Estate Sector Moves Crowdfunding Beyond the Trinkets states that ‘sites have raised more than $135 million in debt and equity’. For the founders of RealtyMogul andEarlyShares, only accredited investors are accepted at this juncture but as the WSJ article points out, they are raising SERIOUS capital.

As with any trend, once it catches on, it’s everyone’s to claim and crowdfunding in real estate is no different. A recent article on Forbes highlights not only the serious money at play, but also the way this crowd funding platform is opening up real estate investing to the masses – globally. “Fundriselast week announced that they raised $31 million from Renren, a Chinese technology firm, Ackman-Ziff (Real Estate Group) and Silverstein Properties (owners of the World Trade Center Twin Towers)”.

The reporter also points out that the field is widening to include all investors. In the article titled,Real Estate Crowdfunding: Post-Valuations Of $100M for Series A?David Drake writes:

The Washington-based company, Fundrise, allows investors, for as little as $100 to as much as $10,000,000, to participate in deals. Until the emergence of crowdfunding, real estate projects, even the smaller ones, have been reserved for high net worth investors and private equity companies.

The Real Estate Fervor: Signs of Recovery?

Whether you are a big-time real estate investor, a market watcher, or a some-time dabbler in housing flips, the fact that new and innovative ways to invest in the housing market and thereby the economy have emerged, is a positive sign of market recovery – not to mention fun market-watching. However if your only goal is to own one property that you call your dream home for the next twenty years, there’s also a special place for you. And with signs of real recovery on the horizon, this is a great time to make the move. Every home purchase is an investment, but more importantly it’s an investment in your future! If you are interested in buying or selling a home in and around Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village or Calabasas, contact Lydia Gable today at Westlake Village Real Estate.

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Equity Check: Is it Time to Sell?

Selling A Home: A Personal Decision

The decision to sell a home is a highly individualized and personal one. But there are signs to watch out for that may signal when it’s a good time to sell your home at least in terms of yielding the best profits. Ask yourself: would you know if your neighborhood property values were suddenly dipping because of a neighborhood decline? Or if your neighborhood is now showing signs of being on the upswing, how do you know when the right time is to list it or stay put?

Although not all of the experts agree on watching the overall neighborhood red flags as indicators of your home value decline or upswing, most do agree that there are signs to watch when making the decision to sell. Here are a few notes compiled by my fellow home experts that you might find useful as a guide post for knowing the right time to list. Ultimately, deciding to sell a home is based on a whole multitude of factors that might include, empty nest syndrome, a job move, loss of income, taking care of an elderly family member, needing a new start or any number of reasons. But if making the right move for investment purposes is your concern, then here are some good tips.

· Is Your Neighborhood on the Upswing

Many neighborhoods took a hit over the past few years causing either mass exodus or mass fear to make a move. As the signs and waves of recovery have slowly moved over the country, people are asking, “Do I sell now or do I wait for my housing value to go up?” Says an article on MSN titled, 8 signs your neighborhood is on the upswing, a good way to spot signs of a real-estate recovery in your community is to begin watching for improvements in the areas near you hardest hit by the downturn. If you start to see improvements in neighboring communities that were hardest hit, your neighborhood is likely on the upswing as well. If this is the case, you may want to start paying special attention. Watch the market and other home sales so you know when to jump in and list your home. Says the article:

Frequent purchases made by investors and first-time homebuyers are good signs. Watch for an increase in the sales of newly built homes versus discounted foreclosed properties; better sales will increase housing construction.

· Time to Sell: Your Neighborhood is in Decline

On the flip side of the equation, in a volatile housing market, a neighborhood can also take a downturn that may affect your home value. In this example, you might want to consider selling sooner than waiting for recovery. Says an article in Business Insider titled, 10 Signs That Your Neighborhood’s Property Value Is Declining, there are tell-tale signs to look for here. Faith Consolo, commercial real estate expert with Prudential Douglas Elliman says in the piece, a closing chain store should be a huge-tip off. She says:

They’re doing musical chairs to capture a whole new demographic. By divesting themselves of the larger location, they’re still keeping a presence but seeking out greener pastures.

· Crunch the Numbers – The Time is Right

Lastly, when in doubt, the numbers don’t lie. Says Michelle Lerner on ealtor.com in an article titled,When Is the Right Time to Sell Your Home? Do your research. Know your payoff amount versus profit and then find out the recent sales price of comparable homes in your community. Says Lerner:

Interview several REALTORS® and consult with them about current market conditions to estimate a listing price and how long it may take for your home to sell. Many sellers opt to put their homes on the market in the spring because that’s when more buyers are looking, but you can choose to sell at any time of year.

‘I’m Ready to Sell My House’

In the end, the decision to sell your home is one that only you can make by weighing all the pros and cons. But if and when you do get close to deciding, isn’t a sale that yields the biggest profit and closes at or close to asking price – shouldn’t that also be part of the decision? So, while it’s always a bit unpredictable and there may never be a perfect time, hopefully armed with the right information and a well-informed, experienced realtor, the decision as to the right time to sell will be as effortless as saying: “I’m ready to sell my house.”

Lydia Gable is a realtor in the Conejo Valley. She specializes in Westlake Village and Agoura Hills real estate. Years of working in both a thriving and a down real estate climate make her experience invaluable to a seller in a volatile market. If you have questions about listing your home or would like more information on anything covered in the article, please contact Lydia Gable today.

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