In close proximity to the highly successful City of Pasadena, Altadena is gaining some well-earned respect reflected in its home values.

 

With the region north east of Downtown Los Angeles – the most western area of what is termed the San Gabriel Valley – neighborhoods and entire cities are on the rise.  Nowhere is this clearer today than in Altadena, CA. Homes in Altadena are being restored to their original luster and Altadena real estate is through the roof when it comes to home values.

A friend of mine owned one of those 1920’s storybook Mediterranean-style homes with a red tile roof up in Altadena. It was perched on top of a knoll and nestled among mature trees. Rainbow colored bougainvillea vines spilled off the rooftop. Sitting in the breakfast nook, one could marvel at the San Gabriel mountain range from its French windows. The house had plaster walls that met the ceiling in a curve. The floors were constructed of large wooden planks, giving the place a kind of Greek Island art studio feel. An idyllic setting for those looking to get away from it all, the neighborhood of Altadena is located just North of its big city sister, Pasadena.

Just being in close proximity to gorgeous Pasadena – of Rose Parade fame – has never been enough to create the real estate buzz that Altadena has longed for until now. After all, Pasadena homes for sale have always been in great demand and the Pasadena real estate market is always booming. Now it’s Altadena’s turn and home sellers are giddy while homebuyers are gnashing their teeth for waiting too long to enter the Altadena real estate market.

John and Fred Woodbury launched the first subdivision, naming it Altadena in 1887. Recognizing the awesome scenic beauty of the foothills below the Angeles Crest mountain range, millionaires from the east erected the first mansions along Mariposa Street.  This became known as millionaire’s row. Now let’s fast-forward to the civil rights era, a generation later. When the public schools were desegregated a phenomenon known as “White Flight” occurred in this once desirable spot. The Caucasian people pulled out and headed to the west side and the African American population doubled in size overnight. Sadly, the properties fell into disrepair and the area turned into a far less desirable neighborhood than it is today.

Thirty years later the gentrification of North East Los Angeles began to take shape. The rundown and neglected homes were purchased cheap and renovated, then flipped. North East Los Angeles became a prime target for the real estate investor and buyers of modest means scouting for their first house.

Before long the community was thriving once again and the curb appeal of these older neighborhoods improved. The ongoing restorative movement in Altadena, which began in the nineties, has helped to increase property values. As things get spruced up and the area becomes more attractive and expensive, the buyer naturally becomes more discriminating and sophisticated. Like it or not, right or wrong, he rich get richer, and those of a lower socio-economic status are often driven out. Some call it gentrification. Some call it progress. Once considered to be a common working class neighborhood, Altadena now has a private country club with tennis courts and swimming pools. A remarkable contrast to what was “the other side of the tracks” during the 1980s.

For foodies with a sweet tooth and taste for authentic Italian Gelato, take a drive down East Altadena Drive and find Leo Bulgarini’s gelateria. The Rome-born ex-sommelier chose this hot spot to open his gourmet gelato shop and that says it all. The new generation of “Hipsteropolis” bars is also finding its way to this side of town. If you have a good pallet and get a hankering for good French wine, Altadena Ale and Wine House is right around the corner. These specialty shops cater to the elite, which is of course a good sign that the community of Altadena is definitely on the rise.

You can still find a single family home in this glorious horse country for less than half a million. In California’s booming real estate market, that is unheard of. It won’t be long before the middle class will be priced out so its time for homebuyers to make their move. Start by hiring a real estate agent who specializes in the area and who has proven success assisting buyers and sellers alike in Altadena.

The rapidly developing area of North East Los Angeles (NELA) lends new meaning to the name “Boomtown”.  Following in the footsteps of Highland Park, their neighbor to the West, the picturesque communities of Hermon and Garvanza have been undergoing a major facelift since the nineties.  That’s been good news for homeowners who have seen homes in Garvanza and Hermon spike in value as real estate in these areas become highly coveted.

The once neglected Craftsman-style residence has taken-on a new pride of ownership, making the region one of NEL.A.’s most hidden treasures. The ornate architecture of Garvanza encompass nearly every style popular from the 1880’s through the 1940’s including, Queen Anne, Shingle, Mission Revival, and Tudor Revival. The charm of this unique enclave, overflowing with historic buildings, is reminiscent of small towns in Northern California.

The ginger bread homes of Chico come to mind. These dilapidated beauties from yesteryear are being restored back to their original splendor with the ginormous wave of gentrification sweeping across NELA. The rejuvenation of these sad old buildings has helped to launch the local real estate market into the stratosphere. If to gentrify is to make a house or district more attractive to the up and coming “gentry”, then the dramatic improvement of Garvanza and has come to exemplify this very process.

Garvanza is generally considered to be the birthplace of the Arts and Crafts movement in Southern California, and many of these houses have been recognized as official historic landmarks. For the architecture enthusiast and tourist alike, these spectacular structures are a treasure trove of gems to behold. As the area has become more and more fashionable among prosperous hipsters, the local economies have grown as well.

Evidence of gentrification is apparent when hip organic restaurants spring up, able to accommodate all of your dietary needs. It wasn’t that long ago that you would be hard pressed to find a meal outside of what might be available from the street taco vendor, or pedestrian fare served at mediocre restaurants. In present day Garvanza, the gay couple on the go can delight to poached eggs, avocado toast and espresso after Pilates class. There is even a new café custom made for the cycling culture, taking shape on York Boulevard, of course, peddling cycling gear along with lattés and vegan scones to its athletic neighbors. Starbucks is perhaps the most obvious telltale sign of gentrification and York Boulevard is now bookended by the famous green lady logo.

Adjacent to Garvanza, lies the hilly hamlet of Hermon. This ever so quint residential district is known for its sycamore-lined streets and gorgeous period homes. In the not so distant past, you might find people wrenching on the old family car, parked haphazardly on the front lawn. Fences and walls of commercial buildings were “decorated” with gang graffiti. Legions of homeless folk set up camp under the freeway.

Today Hermon real estate is booming and homes for sale in Hermon are handsome and immaculate, the yards well groomed. There are only so many places to go around, in these parts, which make this cozy bedroom community difficult to get into. The limited supply of homes and the ever-growing demand makes Hermon all the more chic among the groovy people. The small town feel, and close proximity to the L.A. metropolis gives you the best of both worlds.

Since in the late 2000’s, the hillside enclave of Mount Washington has become the most affluent neighborhood in North East Los Angeles (NELA). It is also known as the affordable Laurel Canyon of the East, featuring a high achieving elementary school located within its borders. This fashionable “offbeat” neighborhood in the San Rafael hills is also home of the Southwest Museum and the Self-Realization Fellowship Center.  Make no mistake, though. While it might be affordable compared to the Hollywood Hills, homes in Mt. Washington are not cheap and Mt. Washington real estate has become a hot commodity.

 

The area has attracted such notable residents as a world famous Yogi and former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  The architecture on the mountain is a pleasing potpourri of everything from grand Craftsman to mid-century and postmodern boxes to rustic cottages. There is something for everyone. In keeping with the free-spirited vibe of the Hollywood Hills, many successful artists have made their homes on this steep (among the steepest streets in L.A.) hillside.

 

Lawrence Ferlinghetti once described San Francisco as a city that has turned into “an artistic theme park without artists”. Try as it might, it has not been possible for the gentrification process in NELA to entirely erase the deeply engrained Hispanic history of the area. While the influx of hipsters with disposable incomes has had a negative effect on longtime Latino residents, the movement has also proven to be a benefit to the struggling culture.

 

But like it or not, this is how gentrification works and what gentrification does. Money has been pumped into the area, transforming what was a neglected region in the eighties and nineties, to a cleaner and more rejuvenated upper middle-class community where children can safely play. The once-neglected garbage-strewn streets with cars up on jacks in neighboring Highland Park have received a massive makeover.

 

Gentrification is further evident in the Los Angeles district of Highland Park, not only with the appearance of new cafés, restaurants, and retail boutiques popping up all over York Boulevard but with the ever-rising value of homes for sale in Highland Park. Real estate in Highland Park is much sought after by younger, progressive professionals and artists. Hipster bars like “Footsies” are a hop, skip and a jump away, if the nightlife appeals. North East Los Angeles exhibits elements of “neo-bohemian” and “green” gentrification, as oppose to the corporate “super gentrification” seen downtown.

 

There is a kind of small-town intimacy retained on the Northeast L.A. boulevards around Highland Park and Mt. Washington that has been lost in the Staples Center-Figueroa Corridor. A blend of cultures exists in Highland Park that could be described as upscale-Latino meets Americana. The residents on the “hill” tend to be educated and lean toward progressive thinking, welcoming all walks of life. You find activists involved with local city, state and national politics.

 

The hot properties on the “hill” of Mount Washington – as well as in Highland Park and neighboring Glassell Park – have exquisite awe-inspiring views and exceptionally large lots with mature trees. Many of the historic houses are in pristine condition and the yards are well cared for.  On a clear day up on sea view Drive; one can see a hint of the shimmering pacific in the distance. The majestic San Gabriels are a breathtaking vista to the north. This hilly green oasis located a mere fifteen minutes from the gray urban landscape of downtown, truly remains one of L.A.’s best-kept secrets.

 

For buyers and sellers of real estate in gentrifying areas such as Mt. Washington and Highland Park, contacting an experienced real estate agent with proven success helping buyers and sellers is strongly recommended.

Real estate in Northeast Los Angeles has been booming for years. We hear about it on television and in the news. Rarely does a news story get published where the term “Gentrification” is used to describe areas such as Eagle Rock, Mt. Washington and Highland Park, regions where home values have spiked. Is it something homebuyers and home sellers need to know? Or is it just a loaded term for those investing in homes for sale in Glassell Park or house flippers with an eye on Highland Park real estate. What exactly does it mean to gentrify an urban area?

 

By definition, “to gentrify” is to improve a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. The middle class, or Bourgeoisie, is attempting to emulate upper-class standards. In the U.K., the gentry refer to people of high social position, specifically the class of people next below the nobility. Therefor the gentrification of an area is a process whereby those of lower socio-economic status are forced out of a region in order to make it more attractive to the people of higher socio-economic standing. Taking deteriorating inner city homes away from working class families to be renovated and sold to the privileged is also known as progress, or gentrification.

 

That is precisely what is occurring in the once run down neighborhood of Highland Park. This ongoing restorative transformation has helped to eradicate crime and strengthen the local economy. Juice bars and yogurt shops have sprung up in place of derelict Laundromats and liquor stores.  Local businesses are now thriving, where the windows were once boarded up and car carcasses rusted.

 

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Glassell Park, where police not long ago bulldozed suspected gang homes in a dramatic crackdown on crime. Soon after, investors began investing in fixing up Glassell Park’s hillside view homes and property values began to rise with new shops and restaurants appearing in direct proportion.

 

At one time, Eco Park stood as the poster child for gentrification in Los Angeles. This forgotten slum went through a complete metamorphosis in the 90’s, turning it into one of the most sought after areas east of downtown. With Echo Park as a model, the restoration movement has continued it’s march east, rehabilitating other areas, such as Highland Park and Glassell Park, with great potential.

 

One telltale sign of the up and coming neighborhood is what is known as the Starbucks phenomenon. If this “7-eleven” of coffee houses has chosen to plant it’s green lady logo on the block, you can bet your bottom dollar that the ‘Hipsters are coming’or more likely, the Hipsters have already arrived. This of course means that property values are climbing.  In the historic region of Highland Park, York Boulevard is now bookended by Starbucks. Having a Starbucks on the corner is clear evidence that a moneyed community is on the rise. The values of homes for sale in Highland Park are absolutely exploding.

 

Another way of measuring affluence is by exploring the high volume of trendy restaurants, bars, and art galleries not to mention the cafes populated by too cool for school patrons everywhere. This enclave has become a hot spot for exotic dining among foodies and the like. Good eats just seem to go along with gentrification. That is one of the advantages. Today you can find French, Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese, and a wide variety of Vegan food in this once neglected district. It has become an amazing multi-cultural mecca. One more example of economic growth is improved public transportation. Business people can commute from paradise to downtown by train in a matter of minutes.

 

The median price for a house in Highland Park is now approaching seven hundred thousand. In relative terms, this area is still a bargain in Los Angeles’ exorbitant housing market. As the beautification of these older neighborhoods flourishes in NELA, the real estate naturally becomes more desirable and the property values escalate.

If you’re buying a home or selling a home, what is the best way to obtain an accurate value of your home? Fortunately, there’s a simple answer.

 

Who would have believed 20 years ago that the rising values of homes in Highland Park and Eagle Rock – as well as real estate in Mt. Washington and in Glassell Park – would be the talk of the town? If you own a home in one of these regions – or are looking to buy a home – odds are that home values are on your mind.

 

Regardless of whether you’re looking to buy a home or sell a home, it only makes sense that you will eventually want to gain an understanding of your own home’s value, if you’re selling, or the value of a different home if you’re thinking of buying.

 

But with all the information, articles, blogs and website tools out there offering home evaluations, its become easy to get, well, confused. That’s because as you’re performing your research and due diligence, the first thing you’ll notice is that there is little consistency in the values offered. One home evaluation will be wildly different from the one before or after.

 

The reasonable question is, why? How? There’s a simple, straightforward answer: There are actually two types of values of homes – automated home values and manual home evaluations. Of course, there’s a big difference between the two.

 

Automated home values are very useful as a general reference tool, to give you a rough idea of what your home or any other home may be worth in the current market. And sometimes a general, rough idea is a good place to begin.

 

Let’s be honest, though.

 

Every home is unique. This is especially true in the neighborhoods of Northeast LA where tract homes don’t really exist. Most every neighborhood in the region is dotted with custom homes and it’s rare to find one that is like another. With tract homes, comparisons, or “comps” of similar homes that have been sold could help us gain insight into what another home may sell for.  For other neighborhoods, it just doesn’t work that way.

 

Also, there are all sorts of renovations, upgrades and features that aren’t reflected in automated home values.  Added up, these renovations and upgrades can make a considerable difference in the home’s value and the final buying or selling price.

 

For instance, there is no way possible that an online tool can know if a homeowner has refurbished the kitchen or the master bath. It doesn’t know if all the 80’s era carpet has been replaced with beautiful bamboo wood or magnesite. It might not even know if a room addition occurred since the last time the home was sold.

 

So the next reasonable question is, how do you, as a home seller, learn the true value of your home?

 

That’s where a skilled and experienced real estate agent comes in.  A local professional real estate agent knows what sells … and what doesn’t.  They know what buyers will pay more for, and how much that renovation really will net you in a home sale. Most importantly, they can provide you with a much more accurate and precise value of your home.

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.

There’s an art to selling real estate, but the science of numbers comes into play for any great real estate agent.

 

It’s no secret that the communities that comprise Northeast Los Angeles – Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Mt. Washington and Garvanza, to name a few – represent a hot real estate market. Homes for sale in Glassell Park can draw several dozens of prospective buyers to an open house. Homes in Pasadena almost always sell quickly and with multiple offers. How does that work exactly?

 

Selling real estate is a numbers game. The more potential buyers that see your listing, the more inquires we receive. The more inquiries we receive, the more likely we are to have a lot of prospects show up to an open house or request a showing. The more showings, the more offers. The more offers, the chance of achieving an over-the-asking-price offer for your home.

 

While it is vital to have a great website with superior marketing and visibility, that isn’t the only way experienced and skilled realtors create buzz about your home. There’s always the time-tested method of “word of mouth”. That’s right. Even in the age of the Internet, networking and making personal connections is still important. Why? Good question.

 

As one would expect, real estate agents have a good amount of influence over the homebuyers they represent. And why shouldn’t they? If a homebuyer has performed their due diligence, they know and trust that the realtor is an expert who is looking out for the buyer’s best interest, not their own. That includes having an effective marketing plan to make your home sell quickly and for the right price.

 

Real estate agents can guide their buyers one way or another, depending on whether they believe a home or neighborhood is going to meet their client’s needs.

 

This is why it’s important for home sellers and their agents to not only market to consumers, but also to make sure the local community of real estate agents also know about the home. The larger the network of agents you have spreading the word, the more potential buyers those agents can share your home with. This, after all, is the true meaning of “word of mouth”.

 

For this reason and more, an experienced agent should be part of a large network of real estate professionals who operate throughout the Los Angeles area, not just the Northeast. This is substantial benefit for you as a seller because it means the agent is not limited to marketing your home to only local buyers. Through these important “viral” networks, out-of-the-area buyers who are looking to relocate into our region can also be reached.

 

An experience real estate agent should actively market your home directly to interested homebuyers, as well as to their own network of agents, working on your behalf to spread the good word about your home. The more interest they can generate through promotion, the more buyers and potential offers they can attract. That, after all, is the name of the game. At least in realm of home selling, more is more!