In case you missed this month’s Rancho Palos Verdes Eastview Newsletter, see it here!
In 1827, Don Dolores Sepulveda received an original land grant to Rancho de los Palos Verdes that supported several thousand heads of cattle and flourishing hacienda. Rancho Palos Verdes literally means “Ranch of Green Sticks” but some say it takes its name from Canada de Palos Verdes, or “Canyon of green trees” and RPV was originally inhabited by the Gabbrielino-Tongva Tribe. 
Then, for a brief period of time in the early 1900’s, the Peninsula enjoyed prosperity as a cattle ranch and rich farming area. During this time, 2,000 head of cattle roamed the open areas. Japanese families farmed the moist southern slopes with fields of beans, peas and tomatoes, while the manager of the cattle ranch farmed the dryer northern slopes with barley for hay and grain.2
In 1913, the found father of the Peninsula, Frank Vanderlip, bought the 16,000-acre Palos Verdes Peninsula and embarked on a grand vision to develop the “Palos Verdes Project” into the most fashionable and exclusive residential colony in the nation. The first homes in Rancho Palos Verdes appeared in the region in 1924, two years before the historic Point Vicente Lighthouse was built in RPV. 3
1″Terranea History.” Rancho Palos Verdes Resorts. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2014.
2 “Rancho Palos Verdes – The Birth of a City.” PalosVerdes.com. City of RPV, n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.
3 “Terranea History.” Rancho Palos Verdes Resorts. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2014.
It’s that time of year again…when the busy holiday season is upon us. Starting with Halloween, Thanksgiving seems to creep up on us quickly followed by Christmas and New Years.
- TRICKS -
Tricks to get your home sold faster !
1. Online marketing. 92% of homebuyers start their house hunt online, and they will never even get in the car to come see your home if the online listings aren’t compelling. In real estate, compelling means pictures! A study by Trulia.com shows that listings with more than 6 pictures are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers as listings that had fewer than 6 pictures.
2. Social Media. Facebook is the great connector of people these days. If you have 200 friends and they each have 200 friends, imagine the power of that network in getting the word out about your house!
3. Beat the competition with condition. In many markets, much of the competition is low-priced foreclosures and short sales. As an individual homeowner, the way you can compete is on condition. Consider having a termite inspection in advance of listing your home, and get as many of the repairs done as you can – it’s a major selling point to be able to advertise a very low or non-existent pest repair bill. Also, make sure that the little nicks and scratches, doorknobs that don’t work, and wonky handles are all repaired before you start showing your home.
4. Access is essential. Homes that don’t get shown don’t get sold. And many foreclosures and short sale listings are vacant, so they can be shown anytime. Don’t make it difficult for agents to get their clients into your home – if they have to make appointments way in advance, or can only show it during a very restrictive time frame, they will likely just cross your place off the list and go show the places that are easy to get into.
5. Get real about pricing. Today’s buyers are very educated about the comparable sales in the area, which heavily influence the fair market value of your home. And they also know that they’re in the driver’s seat. To make your home competitive, have your broker or agent get you the sales prices of the three most similar homes that have sold in your area in the last month or so, then try to go 10-15% below that when you set your home’s list price. The homes that look like a great deal are the ones that get the most visits from buyers and, on occasion even receive multiple offers. (Bidding wars do still exist!)
6. De-personalize & De-clutter. Do this – pretend you’re moving out. Buyers want to visualize your house being their house – and it’s difficult for them to do that with all your personal items marking the territory as yours.Keep the faux-moving in motion. Anything that you haven’t used in at least a year? get rid of it. Give away what you can, throw away as much as possible of what remains, and then pack the rest to get it ready to move.
- TREATS -
Why selling your home during the Holidays is a Treat!
Less Competition Many home sellers either hold off from selling or take a break from selling during the holidays. Inevitably, the amount of listings on the market drop down, which means less competition for your home. With less competition, you could potentially sell your home faster, for more money. Once the market comes back up in the spring time, a lot of sellers will list their homes all at once for lower prices, which may drive the whole market down.
More Motivated. Home buyers are generally the most motivated during the holiday season, greatly aiding sellers. Although there will be less buyers looking at homes this time of year, the buyers who do look are more serious about closing. “While the traffic is down, the buyers who are out there — when it’s soggy and dark at 4:45 p.m. — they’re not just poking around for the fun of it,” said Billy Grippo, a broker for Windermere Cronin and Caplan Realty Group. “They’re wanting to buy a house.”
Interest Rates Drop. Looking back on statistics, interest rates tend to drop the most at the end of the year. “If we look historically at interest rates, cyclically we’ve seen drops every December through January,” says Rich Hayden, senior loan officer for Home First Mortgage Corp. “While rates are now at all-time lows, we could dip even lower,” he says. Tyler agrees, “Interest rates have to come up sometime but it won’t be during the holidays.”
Tax Deductions. Many people purposely choose to purchase a home before the new year to receive a tax write off. Home buyers who close before the end of the year could be eligible for tax credits, such as deductions for home mortgage interest, real estate taxes, and PMI premiums.
Step 1: Decide to Buy
The decision to purchase your first home is one of the biggest and best choices you could ever make. After all, a home is the largest – and most emotional – investment most people will face in their lifetime. So, how do you know if it’s the right time for you to buy?
There is never a wrong time to buy the right home. The key is finding the right buy and taking the time to carefully evaluate your finances.
A home purchase is an important step that can provide many advantages. Purchasing your own home is a great investment that can deliver several financial benefits – equity build up, value appreciation, automatic savings plan – not to mention a new sense of pride!
Start looking at your options today. You don’t have to know everything. Your Keller Williams agent is ready to help you through every step of the process.
Step 2: Hire Your Agent
When you’re looking for a real estate professional to help you, know that above all else, good agents put their clients first. This is your dream, and your agent is your advocate to help you make your dream come true.
A great real estate agent will:
- Educate you about the current conditions of the market.
- Analyze what you want and what you need in your next home.
- Co-ordinate the work of other needed professionals throughout the process.
- Guide you to homes that fit your criteria and budget.
- Negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal possible.
- Check and double-check paperwork and deadlines.
- Inform and discuss with you, and suggest solutions to solve any problems that may arise.To make the financing process as painless as possible, ask your agent to introduce you to the preferred financing consultant. This professional will work with you and your agent to make sure the financial aspect of your home purchase is stress free.
Step 3: Secure Financing
To make the financing process as painless as possible, ask your agent to introduce you to the preferred financing consultant. This professional will work with you and your agent to make sure the financial aspect of your home purchase is stress free.
What will the consultant do for you?
- Review your current financials.
- Discuss the options available to you during the home purchasing process.
- Guide you to an appropriate price point.
- Negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal – price, interest rates, loan approval.
- Keep you informed and updated of the entire financial process throughout your purchase.
Step 4: Find Your Home
So you’ve met with your trusted advisors, and now you’re ready to begin your search. But how or where do you start? There are a lot of homes out there, and diving in without a guide can become overwhelming and confusing. Your Keller Williams agent will help you more accurately pinpoint homes that fit your criteria. The right home will meet all your important needs, and as many of your additional wants as possible.
Some questions you might ask yourself include:
- What amenities are crucial for you and your family?
- How much space do you need and why?
- Which is more critical: location or size?
- Would you be interested in a fixer-upper?
- How important is home value appreciation?
- Is neighborhood stability a priority?
- Is accessibility to main routes a priority?
- What features are not negotiable in your new property?
You’ll learn as you look at homes, your priorities will probably adjust along the way.
Step 5: Make an Offer
Once you’ve found a home you love, the next step is deciding on a price. It’s important to remember that a home is an investment. Your agent can give you information on other properties in the neighborhood to help you ensure you make an informed decision when it comes to price. Look to your agent to explain and guide you through the offer process.
Some things to consider when deciding on the best price point are:
- List price – Start with the price point that the home is listed at. This will give you a base when looking at the home’s value.
- Market Analysis – Your agent will give you an idea of comparable home values in the neighborhood to help you decide if the price point is on par.
- Improvements – Your agent can give you a list of improvements made to the home and help you determine its market value.
Step 6: Perform Due Diligence
Your agent will provide you with improvements and challenges within your home. This way you’ll know what you are getting into before you complete the purchase.
Knowing what work has and has not been done to your home is important information to have in the buying process. While updates can increase your home value, damages can take money out of your pocket. Your main concern is the possibility of structural damage, which can come from water, shifting ground or poor construction.
Very often a problem appears to be big, but can be fixed with very little effort and not a huge budget.
Step 7: Close
Once you’ve determined a price point you’re comfortable with, you’re in the “home” stretch! But, in order to ensure that you don’t put the property purchase at risk, you have a couple responsibilities that you’ll need to keep in mind:
- Staying in control of your credit and finances – Do not make any large purchases during this time. It’s important to keep your financials steady throughout the buying process. Talk to your financial consultant for guidance.
- Keeping in touch with your agent and financial consultant – It’s important to stay in constant communication with your Keller Williams agent and financial guide during this process. Be sure to return all phone calls and complete paperwork promptly. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your team is there to help you!
Step 8: Protect Your Investment
Congratulations, and welcome home! The home-buying process is complete, which means it’s time for your maintenance plan! It’s now your responsibility, and in your best financial interest, to protect your investment for years to come. Performing routine maintenance on your home’s systems is always more affordable than having to fix big problems later. Be sure to watch for signs of leaks, damage and wear.
And remember, just because the sale is complete, your relationship with your Keller Williams agent doesn’t need to end! After you buy, your agent can still help you – providing information on the real estate market, finding contractors and repair services, and even tracking your home’s current value.
Picking a Listing Price can be extremely stressful, what you think your home is worth might not be what the Market thinks your home is worth. A Real Estate Agent will give you their expert opinion, but make sure they explain the current market trends and have enough information to back it up.
Dangers of Overpricing
Broker- and buyer-interest is at its highest when a home is first put on the market — and that interest will remain high for about four weeks. But if a property is priced too high during this crucial period, it won’t attract the right buyers. Once that momentum is lost, it’s difficult to recover.
- By overpricing your home, you create the need to reduce the price at a later time in order to compete with the listings that are really in your price range.
- If you’re interviewing several Realtors to choose a listing agent, you may be tempted to pick the sales professional who suggests the highest price for your property. But sellers, like buyers, need to beware. The Realtor who provides the best comparative market analysis and explanation of how your home should be priced will be more likely to sell your home quicker and for a higher price than someone who tells you only what you want to hear.
Look at Comps
Talk to a Realtor and have them find Comparable homes,that are on the market and homes that have recently sold, also known as a Comparative Market Analysis . Your asking price should be within 10 percent of the average sold price in your neighborhood.
Realtors will evaluate three factors: comparing your home to others that have recently sold, others currently listed and adjustments needed for extraordinary improvements.
Although home improvements can increase the value of your property, it is more likely these upgrades will simply help the home to sell faster than the others without similar renovations. This concept is sometimes difficult for sellers to understand. They feel that if they spent a certain amount on a home improvement, they should be able to recoup that cost by tacking it on to the sales price. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case. According to Home Remodeling Magazine, very few home improvements return 100% of the investment, and that percentage of return declines as the years go by.
Upgrades are important, but buyers may not share the owners’ enthusiasm for — nor agree with — the owners’ perceived value of the improvements. And if a buyer doesn’t see the value, then there is no value.
A professional analysis of the market, will take all of this into consideration as well as analyze the price other homes have actually sold for, not just the asking price — there can be a sizable difference. The most common mistake sellers make when pricing their property is to only consider the asking prices of other properties. Remember, a list price does not suggest market value of a home. It is simply the “asking price” or “dream sheet” of another seller. Its relevance may, however, be in how you position your home with the others on the market.
- Time of year — Ah, spring. Spring is considered the best season to sell a home since families are trying to get situated before the start of the next school year; however, fall is a close second since it comes right after the quiet days of summer when most people are away on vacation. Winter is usually the worst season — especially in areas where it snows — but also because of the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s holidays when people’s minds are on socializing, not buying or selling a home.
- Interest rates — If rates are reasonable, it seems everyone is in the market for a home. But, if interest rates start to climb or they do not seem reasonable, you’ll see less action on the street.
- Inventory — In Economics 101, we were taught the basics of supply and demand. This theory laid the foundation of what drives costs, and so it goes with real estate. If your home is one of 20 in the neighborhood that’s for sale, you will have a hard time getting your price since the supply is great and the demand may not be so great. However, if it’s a hot market and you have a home in a great neighborhood, chances are you will get your asking price and maybe even more. Scope out the neighborhood to see if inventory is high or low. (And ask a real estate agent.)
If you missed our Rolling Hills Newsletter for October, don’t worry we’ve got it all here for you!
The People of Rolling Hills
Excerpt from Rolling Hills: The Early Years by A.E. Hanson
“From the porch of Rancho Elastico I looked out over the Los Angeles basin and I knew that there were thousands and thousands of people who would like some fresh air, who would like to look down on the plains, who would like some elbow room.
One buyer was Mr. Done E. Williams, a businessman in Wilmington who had been, several years previously, one of Howard Jones’ football stars at the University of Southern California. He was about 30 years old, his wife about two years younger; they had two small girls, and were a typical, salt-of-the-earth, American family. Their home was started in March 1936.
The next buyer was a completely different sort of person, Ham B. Johns, insurance broker in Long Beach. I can remember as clearly as if it were yesterday, Ham Johns riding up to Rancho Elastico and hunting me up in the early spring of 1935. He was riding his favorite sorrel horse. He had on western riding pants over fancy, tooled cowboy boots, a black, velveteen shirt, a high white Stetson hat, the kind we used to call a ten-gallon hate, he had large Spanish spurs, a silver bit and silver rings on his reins, and some silver on his saddle. He was a member of the Long Beach Mounted Police and Major in the Victor McLaughlin Mounted Troops.
I got on my $50.00 horse, which in comparison to his looked like a second-hand model T, and we rode down to the Rolling Hills Gatehouse, and he selected his ranchito. He didn’t have one thin dime, but he had a tremendous desire to have a place in Rolling Hills, god bless him. We eventually got paid –we had to take out a lot of insurance with him though. His home was started in March, 1936.
Ham Johns and Don Williams were typical of the two types of people to whom Rolling Hills appealed – one was the family man with small children, and tremendously interested in gardening. He didn’t give a snap of his fingers about a horse – and I didn’t know if Don Williams had ever been on a horse. Ham Johns was the exact opposite; he was keen about horses, parades, roping, and rodeos. I don’t think he ever planted a plant, although Mrs. Johns had a small, modest garden.
The people who first purchased in Rolling Hills were the people who made it a vibrant, pulsing community. They had a number of things in common, such as wanting to have a better environment for their family – a place for their children to grow up in, a place of fresh air – and they all had deep feeling for growing things, whether it was children, plants, a baby calf, a new-born colt, a baby lamb. That was one of the ties they all had in common.
By the Spring of 1937 we had a sufficient number of families living in Rolling Hills so that we were becoming a community. The men were executives in corporations or in business for themselves. The men would average probably 35 years of age; the women were somewhat younger. The families would have from one to three children.
Rolling Hills was unique in that it was not a suburb, but a brand new village. It was about 5 miles to the stores and post office at Malaga Cove, and about an equal distance to San Pedro and Torrance.”
Excerpt from Rolling Hills: The Early Years by A.E. Hanson Page 52-53.
RULES FOR RESALE
1. LOCATION Whether you want to purchase a home to live in for several years or to resell quickly, the #1 Rule for ReSale is location . Chances are that you may not live in the same home your entire life, so location and resale value may be important considerations when purchasing a home. The Palos Verdes Peninsula is one of the best cities for Resale Value, with an amazing award winning school district, low crime reports, family orientated neighborhoods, prime weather & views and an exceptional location most homes have no problem selling along the Peninsula.
- Another important factor to consider as you try to find the best neighborhoods is the quality of the local school system. Even if you don’t have children, you should try to research the closest schools before purchasing a home. This provides a good criterion to factor in of the attitude of the neighborhood and the type of people you’ll be surrounded by. High scores can mean parents are fully invested in their local school system and their children and this translates into how they feel about their homes.
- Though you may be looking for properties that lie in the middle of desirable neighborhoods, you should also consider how convenient the location is for a potential homeowner. The best homes will be located near all the essential businesses and have “walkability” – such as grocery stores, dry cleaners and banks.
2. NEIGHBORHOOD. Although this falls under Location, neighborhood plays a huge role in Resale, and that’s why it deserves its own rule. The most important step in finding a home with resale value is choosing the right neighborhood. One of the first things you may want to consider when researching a neighborhood is the economic stability of the neighborhood.
A desirable area will:
- Possess a good mixture of residential and commercial districts
- Have jobs for future residents
- Demonstrate consistent economic growth
- Be supported by a strong local government
In short, the ideal neighborhood will represent the best of worlds, offering residents both privacy and convenience.
3. MORE THAN 2 BEDROOMS
If almost every home in your neighborhood has only 2 bedrooms, owning a home with fewer than 3 bedrooms is most likely not a drawback. But it is a drawback if you’re trying to attract, say, a couple. Many couples need a guest bedroom and an office, if not an office for each occupant. A home with 3 bedrooms or more is always a better choice to ensure future resale value.
4. MORE THAN ONE BATHROOM
Buyers will still buy a one-bath home but they expect to pay much less for it. Given a choice between a two-bath home versus a one-bath home, first-time home buyerswill almost always opt for the two-bath home, even if the cost to install a second bath is much less than the price difference between the two homes.
Moreover, it’s not enough to simply have two or more baths. A home without a master bath will suffer a lower resale value.
5. FAMILY SPACE
The term family is a bit misleading. A family space is any space in which a group of people can congregate. Whether to entertain friends or host a neighborhood gathering, buyers want an extra room that is spacious and informal. The days of the formal living room and parlors are over. Every space in a home today has a specific purpose and sometimes a dual purpose.
6. STORAGE SPACE & CLOSETS
Don’t ask me why, because it goes against my grain, but people in the 21st Century collect too much stuff. They’ve got to store it somewhere. Walk-in closets are almost an essential. Homes with small closets are hard to sell.
7. ONE LEVEL
When I was a kid in the 1950s, homes with 2-stories were more desirable but that trend has reversed itself. Even if the sacrifice is yard space, most buyers prefer a one-story home. Single levels are handicap accessible. However, in neighborhoods with a mix of two-story and one-story homes, don’t buy a single-level home surrounded by multiple-story homes as those have a bad home resale value.
Unless you live in an urban area that relies mostly on public transportation, you need a place to park your car, preferably 2 parking spots. If it’s a covered, enclosed area, all the better.
9. GOOD FLOW, LAYOUT
Few buyers want a chopped-up, closed-in space. Home buyers prefer natural light and open spaces, with a common sense flow that is interconnected without satellite rooms. A wing is acceptable; however, many families with young children do not want the master suite separated from the other bedrooms.
10 .UPDATES REMODELED
Simple, do-it-yourself home improvements can greatly enhance a home’s resale value. The two best rooms to remodel are the kitchen and baths. Home buyers prefer central heat and air, and some loans such as the energy efficient mortgage will provide for such updates upon purchase.