Real estate closings involve multiple parties performing several tasks to ensure legal transfer of the property, plus a solid loan contract with your lender.

Looking to buy a house in Northeast Los Angeles – NELA, as it is known – but unclear of the process and amount of money needed? A licensed Realtor can help you figure it out. But for ballpark purposes, it might help to do some preliminary study on your own.

NELA is, after all, one of the hottest markets in all of Los Angeles. Not just the obvious neighborhoods like Glendale and Pasadena, but in smaller, lesser-known neighborhoods. Homes for sale in Garvanza are being bought fast. Real estate in Hermon is always in demand.

You might be in love with the schools in Mt. Washington, the housing inventory in Highland Park or the neighborhoods of Eagle Rock, but you have to work through some of these details before you can call any of those places home.

Much is made about closing costs in real estate transactions, and yet these vary for several reasons. The single largest expense, the real estate commission, is covered by the seller (who pays the commission in a split between the buyer’s and the seller’s agents).

Fees the buyer will need to pay at the closing come with some variation; the following are the largest of such costs at closing:

Homeowner association fees – If the property is a condominium the seller might be in arrears with the homeowners association, in which case you will find this out before entering the sales contract. In distressed circumstances (foreclosures, near-foreclosures and short sales), these fees might amount to thousands of dollars.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – If your down payment is less than 20% of the price of the property, you will be required to insure the mortgage at between 0.3% and 1.15% of the loan amount.

Origination fee to the lender – Even while you fix your dreams on a Victorian in Glassell Park, a two-unit duplex in Garvanza or fixer-upper in Hermon, you have to go through a large amount of paperwork with a would-be lender to prove your creditworthiness. And yes, they do charge fees at closing for all that fun.

Points – These enable you to change the terms of the loan to your favor if you pay one or more percentage points toward the mortgage amount. If you have the cash and plan to own the property for a decade or longer, paying a point or two upfront can save you much more over time.

Prorated property tax – As the LA tax year begins on July 1, you will need to cover whatever remains in the year in advance from the day of the closing.

Insurance premiums – Protecting the property (as required by all lenders) from damages and liability is required at closing also.

Escrow fees – Third parties performing escrow services need to be compensated for that work. Note that fee structures are not fixed or regulated by the state of California, but are generally set according to the size of the transaction.

Technically speaking there are multiple fees that will be part of the buyer’s closing costs but which the seller automatically pays for in a reimbursement. These include the city transfer tax, documentary transfer tax to title and the owners title policy. Multiple other fees under $500 (average) costs include the lender appraisal fee, credit report fee, prorated HOA fees, courier services related to the transaction, notary services, archiving fees, recording trust deed (to title), and loan tie-in fees.

Note that the process of looking at houses and negotiating a price, and perhaps that of qualifying for a loan, are typically more time consuming than the closing itself. An experienced realtor will be able to advise you on all these details, invariably to the point where you are told how much money to bring to the closing and in what form.

It’s almost a requirement for Realtors and sellers to recognize you as a serious buyer by being pre-approved. But in fact, you really are just “pre-qualified.”

For most people the fun part of looking for your next home is seeing what different houses and neighborhoods look like. Homes for sale in Mt. Washington, for instance, look nothing like Echo Park homes. Streets in Highland Park don’t even remotely resemble neighborhoods in Atwater Village. Enjoyable as it is, however, it still take some effort.

But the real work – and what’s most financially impactful towards your goal of buying a home in Northeast Los Angeles – is getting the right financing. It helps to at least get pre-qualified for a loan before you make an offer, and better yet, before you even look.

Reasons for preapproval – If you are shopping for a home in Mt. Washington, Garvanza or Eagle Rock and you find something that is well priced, you know the competition can be high to get your offer accepted over other bidders. So it’s to your advantage for your agent to be able to say, “the buyer is preapproved.” If the seller is motivated (i.e., they are wary of waiting a few weeks to learn the highest bidder cannot qualify for a loan) they might actually go with a lower offer from a buyer who appears to be more solid.

What the doubters say ­– A pre-approval isn’t a certainty that you will get the mortgage, much less at a particular rate and favorable set of terms. The process of getting a pre-approval involves minimal documentation just to get you started, to know you are “in the ballpark.” It identifies a price range that is appropriate for your level of income and probably a credit check that would identify “red flag” issues. But because the documentation requirements for homes have gotten much more stringent in the past decade (post-2008 financial crisis), it will be necessary to provide previous years’ tax returns, and as to answer questions on sources of income (e.g., “What was the source of this $30,000 deposit last month?”).

How to do it – Long gone are the “no documentation” loans that existed prior to 2008. That’s probably a good thing, given how most homebuyers want to be able keep their homes, enjoy their time there, and accumulate value in the asset over the years to come. The documentation you will need are the following: Proof of income (W-2 statements, most-recent pay stubs, and proof of any other sources of income such as alimony, pay bonuses, royalties or residuals); verification of employment (with a phone call to your employer and possibly a most-recent past employer); proof of assets (investment account statements, savings of any kind, appraisals of property you might already own and, if you are receiving assistance on the down payment from a relative or friend, a letter stating it is a gift and not a loan).

Lenders will usually give the best interest rates to people with a credit score above 740 – that holds true whether you’re shopping in Hermon, Glassell Park or Highland Park as well as anywhere else in Northeast Los Angeles. But if you fall below that, it doesn’t mean you can’t get a loan. It just means you might have to settle for less-favorable terms.

Note that with self-employed individuals, the requirements for documentation of income are significantly higher. People who consider going out there on their own are highly advised to get a mortgage and buy a new home they think they’ll be able to afford before taking that step.

A NELA Realtor with experience in home transactions and the lending process can provide referrals on lenders and mortgage brokers – and show you homes you might find interesting.

The agent compensation system in Northeast Los Angeles is designed to ensure smart, smooth transactions that are fair to both buyers and sellers.

The process of purchasing a home, particularly for first-time homebuyers, is somewhat opaque. You sign a contract with a broker, who you might view as your shopping friend, and yet you are not obligated to pay them for anything. At no point in the process do you cut a check to your real estate agent, even if they spend dozens of hours with you in the home purchasing process.

Let’s face it, it isn’t difficult for an agent to spend a dozen hours with a client. It can take a half a day to look at various homes for sale in Glendale, for instance. Logging another several hours looking at nearby homes in Glassell Park or Burbank makes sense.

This is no different in Northeast Los Angeles (NELA) as it is in Bel Air or San Francisco or Chicago or New York. In the American system of house buying, the actual compensation to both agents, those representing buyers and sellers, is somewhere between 5% and 8% of the sale price of the home. It is paid for by the seller and split 50-50 between the agents, typically (although that occasionally gets negotiated differently between them).

So, for example, if you buy a home in Eagle Rock for $650,000 the commission might be 6%. The seller then pays out $39,000 to the brokers, who then each get (give or take) $19,500 for their work. Nice, right? Keep in mind they might spend many hours in showing the home to a variety of buyers (weekdays, evenings and weekends), all while directing preparation of the home for sale, or showing a buyer 20 or 30 other properties after spending hours on research (in towns adjoining this one, such as Mt. Washington, Hermon, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Garvanza and others), negotiating prices, drawing up contracts and guiding buyers and sellers through the closing. Also, Realtors rent offices, employ administrative and marketing staff, and absorb the marketing expenses (photography, videography, signs, listings, even staging costs in some situations). Those brokers’ fees also may be split between agents who work for brokers. Brokers are well compensated, but not as much as is often mistakenly assumed.

The more successful agents know from their education and experience how to price a home fairly and effectively, how to work out issues in negotiations, and how to guide a buyer or seller through the paperwork, legal and financial/lender processes.

Also, sometimes a home doesn’t sell, a buyer doesn’t buy, and no one earns a commission. That’s the way it can work in real estate.

From time to time real estate agents try different methods of compensation. Alternatives to this system – each of which have clear disadvantages – could be:

Pay a flat fee – Say you determine it’s worth paying an agent $5,000 to help you find or sell a $750,000 house. But the other party has to agree to something similar and it’s highly unlikely they would do that. In cases where someone is purchasing a home from a family member or friend this might be a workable plan. Or not.

Pay a [lower] fee that offers no incentive to move quickly – This falls under the rule that “you get what you pay for.” If an agent is working to earn 1% on the sale price, will they be sufficiently incentivized to give a buyer or seller expeditious service? When the fee is at a market rate, the agents are collectively interested in making the sale happen as quickly as possible.

Pay by the hour – If a buyer’s agent agrees to this, presumably the difference between the hourly fee and what would be the 3% (more or less) of the buyer’s agent would be value returned to the buyer. But that would incentivize an inefficient process, such as seeing too many homes that are inappropriate or, for the seller, bringing in too many prospects who aren’t really qualified buyers.

For more on homes available in NELA, speak with a realtor. Experienced NELA realtors are able to outline the terms of working with them under traditional fee structures.

Shopping for a home is fun for many people. And while signs for open houses suggest come-one-come-all, you should be both polite and strategic.

The real estate sales technique of open houses has taken a hit in recent years. With online listings – complete with photos and videos – much of the preliminary shopping individuals do is from their personal computer.

But one can get much more out of the experience of actually being in the home, getting a sense of the quality of materials, the views out of windows, and the vibe of a neighborhood. You want to know about Glassell Park, Highland Park or Eagle Rock if you’ve never been there before.

For instance, throughout Northeast Los Angeles, homes in Echo Park and Highland Park, as well as real estate in Atwater Village and Eagle Rock, are unlike homes anywhere else. They have to be seen to be understood.

Open houses are sometimes the route for people just beginning their search, such as someone who has yet to sign on with a representing broker.

Just be advised on some rules and strategies for attending open houses:

Visit on your own time (without your broker)? If you have a signed exclusive buyer-broker agreement, it’s conceivable that your agent would provide you with a list of open houses to visit on your own. It’s OK to go solo to open houses just because you happen to be driving through Garvanza or Hermon one day, but it would immensely complicate the process if you decided to write an offer without your Realtor involved. Just be upfront with your agent and the brokers representing the homes you visit about your standing buyer-broker agreement; your agent might even give you a handful of his or her business cards that, should you find a home interesting, you can connect your representative with the open house host agent.

Reveal minimal information about yourself. This is less about etiquette and more about preserving your negotiation leverage. If you say too much about your financial situation, if your offer to buy would be contingent on selling an existing home – or stating how much you love a place – each of those things provide information that is useful to the seller’s agent. Better to let your own agent handle that communication later. Rule of thumb: the less said the better.

Be conversational but not overly enthusiastic or interruptive. It’s certainly ok to ask questions (e.g., “Will the dining room chandelier stay?,” or “When was the electrical updated?”), as well as to make mild compliments (“That’s a lovely fireplace”). But don’t gush (“Oh, I just LOVE this kitchen!” or “I’ve had my eyes on Mt. Washington for a long time!”), as it might reveal a willingness to pay more. Also, if the seller’s broker is engaged in conversation with someone else it’s perfectly ok to walk through the home unattended.

Respect private places. Sometimes a door will be closed; unless the seller’s broker opens it assume it’s a room that is not for viewing in the open house stage. You will be able to see it later if you are a serious buyer.

Look in your ballpark. If you want to see something outside of what you can afford, that may become apparent within a short conversation with the seller’s broker. It wastes their time and distracts them from doing their job, which is to find an interested and qualified seller. It helps to know what a lender has pre-qualified you for in terms of a mortgage before you even look at something. Besides, why disappoint yourself with something that’s inaccessible?

You should understand also that if you step inside an open house you are technically a sales prospect if you are unaccompanied by a broker. So if you are seriously considering buying a home, you should be game for that conversation.

If you have more questions, contact an experienced realtor that has hosted and attended countless open houses while diligently working in real estate in the NELA area.

So, you love your house and you want it to be the subject of envy for everyone visiting you at your place. One thing that you will have to remember here is that without the right interior decoration you cannot make your home look beautiful. Now, there are so many ways to make your house appear beautiful that you might really feel confused as to which elements to include and which to eliminate to offer the house that much needed touch of charm. Well, let’s make things easy for you. If you want an instant facelift for your house, then go for a kind of decoration that involves mirrors. Now, you must be wondering how mirrors can be so effective in enhancing the beauty of an Interior space. Well, mirrors have many magical properties that offer them the power to transform even a boring place into something really charming and ecstatic. Here are some amazing ways in which you can use mirrors in your house to make it a more interesting place to live in. Have a look-

The first and most important function of mirrors is reflection of light. Yes, that’s right! That is why they are widely used in interior spaces that do not receive a lot of natural light or that are not lit adequately with artificial lighting. Hence, if you have a room that doesn’t attract a lot of sunlight or that has a dim light in a corner as its only source of lighting, then you can definitely make use of large mirrors to enhance its brightness.

You can also use mirrors in your bathroom. Now, you might say this is a very common trend and we have been seeing mirrors in bathrooms for ages. But we are not talking about using mirrors in a routine way; we are rather talking about using them in such a creative manner that the entire look of the bathroom gets transformed like never before. For that, you can use decorative mirrors here and there inside the bathroom. If you want a functional mirror in the bathroom, then go for it. But make sure it is not a single mirror- use mirror in pairs to add a touch of glam to your bathroom. It’s a rage these days to use mirrors in pairs even if they are immediately above the bathroom sink.

If you have dimly lit hallways and corridors in your house, then you probably know how eerie they could appear at times. Don’t worry, lighting them up is absolutely easy with the use of mirrors. All you need is to mount a mirror on the wall directly facing the wall on which the main light for the hallway is fixed. This mirror will effectively reflect all the light that it receives from the light facing it. As a result, you will have amplified light in the hallway. You can follow the same trick to light up your corridors as well. Guess what! It is not just for the amplification of light that you need mirrors in hallways and corridors; you also need them to beautify these places.

If you can’t think of a way to use mirrors appropriately in your house, then contact any good home designer Brisbane for the kind of interior design appropriate for your house.

Yes, you love you house! But it’s not just the inside of your house that is important. A lot of homeowners think people only get impressed when they see the beautifully adorned interior of a house. But the truth is far from that. The beauty of a house doesn’t emanate from its interiors alone, the outside is also equally important. And that is probably the reason why setting up gardens is a favourite activity among a lot of people who love their house.

If you love your house and want people to appreciate it, then it’s not just the interiors that you should focus on, you should also try to make the exterior look beautiful. But because there are hundreds of ways in which you can beautify your house campus, it could be a little confusing as to which way to adopt. Well, the easiest way out to give your outdoor a total revamp is to spruce up your deck. But how do you do that? Well, you do that by choosing the right decking option. And how do you select the right decking option? Well, for that read on the guide here-

  • The first and most important thing to keep in mind is that your deck is a part of your house. And that is why it needs to look like it is an extension of the house, rather than looking like it stands on its own. You should choose a decking option that compliments your house in some way or the other. Although composite timber decking is the best available option today, it’s not mandatory that you will have to go for it. You can go for any kind of decking option depending on what compliments your house. Another thing you need to keep in mind is that your deck need not be too matched with the floor of your house. What we are rather stressing on is the existence of some compatibility between the two.
  • The second important thing to keep in mind is definitely what is available in your area. You might like a particular decking option but is it available in your area? If not, then how are you going to get it? Even if you are thinking of importing it, is it going to be profitable deal? Won’t you be spending a lot of money unnecessarily? If you want to save on a few bucks, then you should go for a decking option that is easily available in your area.
  • The third and most important thing to consider is the climatic condition in your area. For instance, if you live in an area that receives heavy rainfall, then you will probably do fine with a deck surface that is resistant to water. If, however, heavy rainfall is not an issue in your area, then you can go for any variety of decking that you like. In case, the area receives a lot of sunlight and heat, then it will be wise of you to stay away from plastic options and options that might get affected by excessive heat.

These are some of the most important things to take into account while choosing a decking option for your house. Select one and make your residential campus appear mesmerizingly beautiful.

Our Favorite Kitchens – and How We Accessorize Them

Kitchens have evolved over the past one hundred years from a closed-off space in the back of the house to the center of the home, both physically and emotionally. Even clients who don’t cook want a beautiful gourmet kitchen where the family can relax, chat, and eat their takeout dinners!

We work with a few great cabinetry vendors here on Long Island that help us create the beautiful cabinetry in the kitchens we’ve designed. Many people want white kitchen cabinets now, so we try to jazz these up and keep them interesting with unique backsplashes, window treatments, and accessories.

Keep it Family-Centered:

Kitchen islands are a great way to keep the kids and family close on weeknights. Kids can sit at the island with their homework while mom and dad cook. The family can gather around the table for family dinners.

Keep it Easy for Entertaining:

Islands are also great for entertaining. It gives guests a spot to “perch” during casual get-togethers, and you can spread out your hors d’oeuvres on the top of the island.
If you have space in your kitchen, we recommend doing a second sink and dishwasher on the island. For big dinner parties, you’ll need that extra dishwasher!
Double ovens are also great for big parties and get-togethers. No more trying to cook the souffle with the chicken cordon bleu!
Don’t Forget the Windows:
Kitchens, unlike most rooms in the house, are full of “hard” decorating elements. Cabinets, floors, tile, a table, wooden chairs – there’s not much space for the “soft” decorating elements that warm up a room. A simple roman or valance on your kitchen window is a nice way to add a little bit of pattern or color in your space, and to warm it up.
At Marilyn Rose Interiors, one of our main decorating principles is using tiered lighting. In kitchens, you need lots of task lighting.
We don’t always love using a lot of recessed lighting (or high-hats) because it doesn’t always make you look your best – but in kitchens it’s great for task lighting. We recommend having a little bit of recessed lighting, layered with other task lighting.
You can layer the lighting with pendants over the sink and/or island, and a chandelier over the breakfast table. You can also add under-cabinet lighting, to help provide more light when doing your kitchen tasks like cutting or chopping.
We don’t suggest overloading your countertops with too many knick-knacks, but we do like adding a curated selection of pretty accessories. A contemporary fruit bowl; a unique vintage cookie jar; great transitional candlesticks; there are many gorgeous options you can use to help complement your space. You can check out our online shop to find some great kitchen accessories.
If you’re ready to design your dream kitchen with us, give us a call today! and
visit us now –
Author : Marilyn H. Rose
Author Bio:
Marilyn Rose – Long Island, Hamptons Interior Designer Marilyn Rose has decades of interior design experience and know-how. Marilyn’s work has been seen in many top design magazines and television shows, along with her popular travel diary, Travels with Marilyn. She has completed projects across Long Island, the Hamptons, Manhattan, Palm Beach and beyond.

Rattan is making its comeback this year as a material for furniture for your home, both indoor and outdoor. Here are some description about this material and its usage. Rattan is a considered to be a relative of palm tree. It is a type of a vine tree that rapidly grows in the forests of South Eastern region. It is grown in the shape of a pole, and the diameter varies between one to three inches. Rattan is considered to be one of the strongest woods and has the ability to grow up high a hundred feet.

It is totally different from the bamboo pole and holds a strong core and is durable and very hard to break.  The solid cores of rattan along with its vertical grains are harvested, and are cut into smaller sections and generally steamed to give various shapes. The outer skin of the rattan pole, which is known as peel is generally used to bind the furniture joints together.

You can look at the specification of Rattan to understand why it is being tipped to be the interior decor and garden trend of 2017 as it is one of the fewest materials to break the barrier between both indoor and outdoor purpose furniture and decor. This modern furniture is available in a wide range of sofas, tables, chairs and accessories.

Firstly, I want to talk about Rattan in general as what makes this style of furniture so desirable and demandable in 2017 because it is Eco-Friendly. When we talk about Eco-Friendly we can understand the depth of nature we get into it. 

It is obvious that we all love something that is very easy to maintain. You don’t require any fancy cleaning products to keep your rattan looking clean and fresh. How to clean is very simple and you can use bowl of warm water, some dishwashing detergent, a soft cloth and some lacquer.

And Finally, Rattan is a lightweight material. So the products made from it are, lightweight. Ideally suitable for one person to move around the house or the garden easily. This makes maintenance and cleaning nice and straightforward.

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We all age, but the process of aging becomes quite clear when some elderly person in your home prefer to use available house facilities rather than shifting and living in some nursing or assisted living places. Our homes are not designed to take care of elderly people and that’s why after some point of time you need to take the assistance of professional Temecula remodeling house contractors.

Bathrooms are the most essential areas in everyone’s houses, but they are also one of the risky parts where an elderly can either slip n shower or finds difficulty to climb inside the bath-tub. Especially, patients who are in wheelchairs find its extremely challenging to reach lighting fixtures, sinks, cabinet storage etc.

A consultation with contractors of bathroom remodels in Temecula can give you a home, which matches up with the requirements of every age-group members existing in your family. Following are few tips which are recommended or used by these contractors to avoid any bathroom mishaps in future:-

• Design of tubs or showers are several but you must go for the installation of a basic-stand-up shower with a slip-free base or for the curb less showers (do not have the tiny ledge along the shower edge) to avoid tripping while entering in the shower. A walk-in tub comes at a premium price and lets you have the luxury of a hot bath.

• If you have seniors’ citizens in your home, the most common problem faced by them is to access several essential bathroom facilities which are not positioned as per their usage. For example, you should install a new toilet seat which is somewhere in between 17 and 19 inches in height from the floor for the elderly to stand up or sit down comfortably.

• Contractors of a bathroom remodel in Temecula recommends installing wall-mounted sinks rather than those which are dropped into a vanity as you grow old. Such sinks create sufficient space for wheelchairs elderly patients.

• If you want you can also opt for creating split-level sink countertops which will benefit both those who are seated in wheelchairs and those who can brush while standing. If the split-level sink is not your preference contractors prefer installing adjustable countertops (to adjust heights as per your situation).

• Other bathroom remodeling adjustments you can consider are- update lighting for clear vision above the sink and when you are inside the shower, use drawers with U-shaped drawer pulls instead of cabinets, widen your bathroom doors to comfortable maneuver with walkers, install grab bars by the toilet or inside the shower etc.

The best benefit to taking the assistance of Temecula remodeling experts is that you can own a perfect mix of beautiful and fully-functional elderly people bathroom. You do not have to visit a bathroom which looks like bland hospital one.