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Featured Listing

For Sale: $585,000

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Snagging the House Even if you Lose to another Buyer

If you've been trying to purchase a home in Los Angeles lately, chances are you've had the experience of being outbid by another buyer. It's a very disappointing experience to say the least. Although this real estate agent has tactics and strategies to ensure that her buyers are the ones who get the house the first time out, occasionally even I have to resort to back-up strategies to get the house for my client.

What to do if you lost the bidding war?  Convert your Offer to a Back Up Offer. Ask the seller to accept your offer as a backup offer. There is no cost to you, yet you will be next in line to get the property if the existing buyer's offer fails to result in a closed deal. Sellers often begin to "feel their oats" during escrow. They begin to feel confident and can't imagine that the buyer might walk away. If the deal fails for some reason during the initial escrow, the seller may be much more willing to move forward with a backup offer so as not to go all the way back to square one.

If the initial buyer backed out as a result of the inspections, you have a good shot at getting the house as long as you don't mind whatever the inspections unearthed. The seller is obligated by law to share the first set of inspection reports with any second potential buyer as long as the inspection results were in writing. Technically, they should also share verbal inspection results if they have any but that is probably unlikely to occur. You now have the seller at a disadvantage and could sail to a close should you decide to proceed.

Another common reason the first escrow may fail is the buyer might not have been able to obtain financing even though he or she was preapproved for a loan.  As loan qualifications become tighter and more scrutinized, some home buyers may not qualify and will have to back out of the deal.

So don't give up if you lose the bidding war. Again, this realtor has a great track record of getting her clients the house the first time around. But failing that, all is not lost. Try, try again...

By contributing writer Michael Corbett and Eileen Walsh




Mold Basics

We've all heard about it. Some of us have experienced it. One of the most common problems in any house, it’s also one of the easiest to prevent and cure, as long as you haven’t let it get out of hand. Bathroom mold occurs primarily because mold loves damp, dark, isolated spaces. If you keep on the watch out and act quickly when you see evidence of mold, you will have won the battle with this persistent problem.

Why is mold more prevalent in bathrooms? Because that's where the water is. Often bathrooms lack proper ventilation. Plumbing leaks. Toilets leak. Sinks leak. Damp products also abound bathrooms: wet towels and other fabrics, wet grout and drywall: mold finds a home wherever the conditions are hospitable.

So how do you know if you have a mold problem? Generally speaking, if you can see it or smell it, you’ve got mold. Mold isn't a mystery lurking behind walls generally. It will pop out the other side of walls very easily. Look for black spots on the wall and floors. If you see anything like that, call a mold inspector. But bathroom mold isn’t always obvious. Check out hidden areas, such as under sinks, access doors to shower and bath fixtures, around exhaust fans, even in crawl spaces and basements underneath bathrooms.

Preventing Mold

The best thing to do is prevent mold from occurring in the first place.

  • Use your bathroom ventilation fan when you shower or bathe, and leave it on for 30 minutes following the end of your bath; if you don’t have an exhaust fan, install one.
  • Keep household humidity levels below 50%; an air conditioner or dehumidifier can help.
  • Use a mildew-resistant shower curtain in the bathroom and wash or replace it frequently.
  • Don’t keep bottles of shampoo or shower gel, toys, or loofahs in the shower, as they provide places for mold to grow and hide.
  • Wash your bathroom rugs frequently.
  • Don't let water puddle on the kitchen counter tops or under the sink. Keep counter tops dry when not using them.

Getting Rid of Mold

What do you do if mold growth is already a problem? As long as the infestation isn’t large, you can take remedial measures yourself:

  • Strip away and replace any caulking or sealant that has mold growth.
  • Clean your bathroom with mold-killing products, such as bleach, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide.
  • Open windows and doors while cleaning to provide fresh air and help dry out the mold.

If you have a problem area bigger than 10 square feet, call in a professional.

 National Association of Realtors


Should You Buy New Construction or Previously Owned?

Most of us in Los Angeles purchase what in real-estate jargon is called "re-sales" or sales of homes previously owned by prior owners. But there are occasionally developments of new construction, particularly with condominium projects in Los Angeles and its suburbs. Many of us are faced with the decision: when you are ready to buy, should you purchase a re-sale or new construction?

According to Trulia, twice as many people prefer new homes to existing homes. My brother just went through this decision making process with regard to his vacation property in the Palm Springs area. Read on to see what he decided to do...

Here are some benefits of purchasing new construction:

  • You can often customize the home as it’s being built if you get in early enough.
  • The work is done for you in new homes. You don’t have to lift a finger, a paintbrush, or a hammer.
  • New homes have many of the design elements that today’s lifestyle demands: open, eat-in kitchens, walk-in closets, and large master baths, to name a few.
  • You won’t have much maintenance work in a new home — a huge financial benefit. With brand-new appliances, plumbing, heating, and air, you should be repair-free for at least a few years.
  • Just-built homes, made from new construction materials, are usually more energy efficient, which means potentially lower utility bills.
  • New homes and condos are often equipped with the latest technology — think alarm systems, speaker systems, Internet wiring, and cable — saving you lots of time, money, and holes in the walls.
  • You’re moving into a house that should be totally complete and absolutely perfect. That “new house smell” is definitely a luxury!

The downside to new construction

  • Brand-new homes come with a big price tag —sometimes up to 20 percent more than a similar existing home.
  • Just because it's new doesn't mean it's flawless. Many new construction owners become involved in class-action lawsuits again the developer.
  • All those fabulous amenities you saw in the model home can really add up. Upgraded features are marked up heavily for the construction company’s profit and can ultimately cost you far more than you ever intended.
  • Many new developments are built far from destinations like schools, supermarkets, and shopping centers. And if you’re one of the first to move in, you’re essentially going to be living in a construction zone for years to come.
  • If you’re looking for a lovely, quaint, tree-lined older neighborhood that has a well-established community of neighbors, you won’t get it for many years in a new development.
  • Often, new homes have less architectural detail and charm than many older homes.
  • Those who take pleasure in fixing up a home or tailoring it to their preferences might find that brand-new homes aren’t a good fit.
  • New homes are built on smaller lots than most older homes. If you’re looking for that big backyard — and lots of space between your house and the next-door neighbor’s,— you may not find it in a new build.

While it may seem like new construction is the perfect choice, there are many lifestyle factors to consider. After all, you’re not just buying a house —you’re buying a home and a neighborhood!

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