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Victoria's Blog

By Victoria Wood | Agent in Beverly Hills, CA
  • Personalized Property Search Websites Available

    Posted Under: Home Buying in West Hollywood, How To... in West Hollywood, For Rent in West Hollywood  |  March 14, 2013 4:52 PM  |  620 views  |  No comments

    Real Realty LA Logo

    Take the stress and the hassle out of looking for a home.

    If you are interested in receiving your own personalized website with properties matching your selected property criteria please email us at RealRealtyLA@gmail.com and a site will be set up for you free of charge within 24 hours.

    Whether you are looking to lease or to buy, all we need from you is your price range, locations/neighborhoods, size (either min. bedrooms and/or min. square footage) and we will set you up with your own private property website where you can review all properties within your criteria that are listed on the multiple listing service. No waiting for an agent to send you information, no scrolling through hundreds of listings on multiple websites. Here you will get all properties listed in one place.

    This service is completely free of charge, so take advantage of it today! If you would rather properties be previewed for you and a short list compiled based on your specifications, for instance style of the home, in-unit laundry, flooring, layout etc. we are happy to send you just those properties that we feel meet your needs. If this is something that appeals to you more, simply shoot us an email at RealRealtyLA@gmail.com or call Victoria directly at 213.880.5594 and we can go over your specific needs and start getting properties sent out to you within 24 hours of talking.

    Screenshots of what to expect when you sign up for this hassle free, complimentary service from Real Realty LA:

    Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 4.16.42 PM

    • Once you send us your criteria, we will set up your private personalized home search and send you your login details. Once there this is the screen you will see. Your criteria will list what you sent us (this is changeable, just email use the new requests anytime) and all you do is press the submit button.


      Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 4.16.55 PM

      • After you’ve pressed the submit button you will get something that looks like this. You’ll get a breakdown of everything active (or looking for backup if selected) that matches your criteria.


        Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 4.17.03 PM

        • Once you see one you like, you simply click on the address or picture get more information on the property. It really is that simple, so start sending in your property criteria and this can be set up for you in a matter of hours.
  • 5 Key Points All Potential Home Buyers Should Know

    Posted Under: Home Buying in West Hollywood, How To... in West Hollywood, Property Q&A in West Hollywood  |  August 21, 2012 5:19 PM  |  459 views  |  1 comment

    5 Key points all home buyers should know!

    When looking to purchase a house or a condo there are 5 key issues that home buyers should be aware of and really think though. By doing so you will eliminate some of the stress of home buying along with ensure the property you have bought is not only a good investment but an investment that you can comfortably hold onto for years to come.

    1. Short Sales vs. Standard Sales. Really do your homework when you are looking to purchase a home or condo. Do not start your search only looking for short sales and foreclosures, keep your opinions open by including regular sales. Sometimes a standard sale can be a bigger deal than a short sale. Homeownership comes with many expenses along with many unforeseen expenses, so don’t just look at the purchase price and make a decision based off that. Inquire about the age of the appliances, quality of materials, age of plumbing, A/C units, roof and other high priced expenses, that if they break, you will be paying for them.

    We had a client who purchased a short sale (because they were adamant about the ‘deal) and prior to moving in they had to redo the roof, refurbish the floors and landscape the yard. Finally having moved in, they formally met their neighbors when they knocked on their door one morning informing my clients that their waste pipe had split, dumping all my clients waste in the neighbors yard.

    Whilst you can never predict every issue that you may have with a house or condo, you want to try to limit the number of issues that may arise (especially within the first few years of ownership) and sometimes buying the slightly more expensive, well maintained property is the better long term investment.

    2. Split your wish list from your non-negotiables. You won’t always find everything you want in a single home or condo but recognizing what can and cannot be changed can mean the difference between buying your dream home and eventually settling through frustration and tiredness. From expecting a $500,000 house on a $200,000 budget to couples refusing to even look at a home if the kitchen cabinets were not the color they preferred, trust us when we say we’ve seen it all. So when we say that no matter your budget, and honestly, no matter your budget, your home search in Los Angeles will have to include some compromises, you’re better off establishing what your non-negotiables are and what your wish list comprises of before you start your search, so you do not risk losing out on your perfect home because of one minor issue you refused to overlook.

    3. Recognizing the value of a property. Buying the one remodeled unit in an old, run down building. Location & Building/neighborhood more important than the unit (house itself). When it comes down to resale value, upgrades do little to boost your property value. Comparable condos and houses in the neighborhood and an average sales price per square foot are ultimately what will determine the value of your property. So before you get swept away by hardwood floors and granite countertops look at the landscaping and general upkeep of the houses and buildings around you. If you can, check out other units in the same complex and make sure you are not buying the diamond in the rough.

    4. Making the decision. Buying a home is not an impulse decision, that being said, don’t wait too long deliberating the pros and cons and loose the property. I’ve had clients who make snap decisions even against my advise and half way through escrow they are backing out of the deal because the house or condo is just not what they ultimately want. Conversely, I’ve had clients that have also waited so long to make a decision that we’ve lost out on properties that were absolutely perfect for them because they just couldn’t pull the trigger. Which then acts as an even bigger problem moving forward because every home or condo viewed now is instantly compared to the ‘perfect’ place that got away. Make sure you arm yourself with every tool you need when you decide to buy a house or condo and when you start your search treat with some importance, if you see a place you think will work for you, but you want to see a couple of comparisons first, either arrange to see the comparisons the next day or submit an offer first then arrange to see your comparison properties (there are a number of clauses in the offer that will allow you to back out if something better presents itself).

    5. Know your maximum budget. Honestly and truly, work out where your comfort level is and stick with it. Home ownership comes with many more responsibilities than renting. If you are buying a single family home budget for those unforeseeable expenses that are undoubtably going to pop up, (plumbing repairs, roof repairs etc.). Even if you live in a condo, along with your mortgage payments (if applicable) still remember to budget in home and contents insurance, a home warranty program (an absolute must for any homeowner, see post here for full information), property taxes and HOA dues and also put money aside for any unforeseeable issues inside the unit and any HOA special assessments.

                                               

  • Picking the LA Neighborhood that Best Suits You..!

    Posted Under: General Area in Los Angeles County, In My Neighborhood in Los Angeles County, How To... in Los Angeles County  |  February 29, 2012 8:04 PM  |  1,872 views  |  No comments

    Nicknamed the City of Angels, Los Angeles is a world center of business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media and technology. Afforded with warm sunny weather year round and in close proximity to beaches yet within driving distance to the snowy mountains during winter, there are always a plethora of outdoor activities for those living and visiting Los Angeles to take part in.

    For a detailed review of the best neighborhoods in Los Angeles, check Here.

    When it comes to picking the right neighborhood for you there are three main criteria you need to look at:

    1. Proximity to work. Not that you need to live a block from work, but you do need to be realistic about LA traffic and the commute time too and from work.

    2. Lifestyle. What activities do you find yourself doing in your free time? Are you always hanging at the beach with friends? are you at the latest bar in Hollywood? Do you enjoy the peacefulness of the Canyons? These are the sort of questions that you want to be asking yourself. There is no point in buying or leasing a home if it isn’t within close proximity to where you choose to spend most of your time when not at work.

    3. Proximity to friends. This is very similar to lifestyle and generally they should go hand in hand. But just to make it extremely clear, I’m still going to explain this one. Buying or leasing the big house in the valley under the illusion of throwing massive house parties and having room for friends to crash after a heavy night is a nice idea, but that’s all it is. In reality, your friends who all live in West Hollywood, Hollywood, West LA, are not going to all drive away from the LA nightlife to your house in the valley to sit a drink beer in your living room.

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    Three of the most desirable areas to live within Los Angeles County are Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, incl. West Hollywood Hills, and Hollywood (all areas that the agents at Real Realty LA specialize in). Each are desirable in their own right ensuring that no matter a persons lifestyle and preferences they will find the home of their dreams in Los Angeles County.

    Other neighborhoods that are extremely desirable are Bel Air, Brentwood, Malibu, Echo Park, Los Feliz and Silver Lake.

    For details on all the neighborhoods listed above, be sure to check out our LA Neighborhoods page.

    *View of Los Angeles from Runyon Canyon

  • Real Estate 101 - Breaking Down a Lease Agreement

    Posted Under: How To... in West Hollywood, Rental Basics in West Hollywood, Rentals in West Hollywood  |  February 24, 2012 3:13 PM  |  487 views  |  No comments

    Breaking Down the Standard Residential Lease Agreement

    Whether buying or leasing a property one thing is for certain, you will sign and initial more paperwork than you ever imagined. Therefore our first installment of ‘Real Estate 101′ will be breaking down the 6 page ‘Residential Lease or Month-to-Month Rental Agreement’, the first and most important contract when signing a lease.

    1. Whilst it may seem simple and obvious, a lease agreement is a legally binding document so be honest. When it asks you to state persons staying in the property list them all. Do NOT claim sole residency, you will be surprised how often you will see your landlord during the term of your lease.

    2. Item 1c. on the contract is extremely important to take note of. It is in this section that the landlord will stipulate what items, appliances and other personal property will be left during the tenancy. For example, if you are expecting all appliances and some potted plants in the backyard to be left it is here that it will be written.

    3. Item 5. is an extremely important section that every renter needs to understand. After all, this is the section that breaks down your costs and monthly commitments, and unsurprisingly, this is also the section I get most questions about. To aid my explanation I have included an example from a lease agreement completed for a client just this week.

    In this example the tenants are already in possession of the property but would like to extend their contract on a month-to-month basis. Because their original contract had a definitive end date a new contract had to be written up detailing the new specifications. In the above example you will see that the first column ’Total Due’ shows the move in costs to be $3,000 for 1st months rent, $3,000 for security deposit and $1,000 for pet deposit but if you look in the next column ‘Payment Received’ it shows that $3,000 has been paid for the security deposit and $1,000 has been paid for the pet deposit therefore in the next column ‘Balance Due’ the tenant only has $3,000 for March’s rent  due on 3/1/2012.

    If you are signing a new contract for a property that you are not already in possession of there will be no amounts in column two and under ‘Balance Due’ you will see a repeat of all the costs displayed in column one ‘Total Due’. A due date (last column) will be next to each expense as some landlords may demand security and pet deposits earlier than the first months rent if you are signing the contract much earlier than the beginning of your lease term.

    4. There are two parts to Section 11. that renters need to pay attention to.

    Firstly, when renting a house, duplex or condo with outdoor space, make sure that either the landlord is willing to pay for a gardener to take care of the lawn and landscaping etc. or that you will take on the commitment that comes with a garden and outdoor landscaped areas. The example above shows the areas (11.b,c & d) that will tell you who is responsible for maintaining such areas.

    Secondly, 11f. is the difference between hassle free living and the lease from hell. When you move into rented accommodation that includes kitchen appliances, an A/C unit, and maybe built-in TVs the last thing you as the tenant wants, is the responsibility of paying for the repair of those items. Section 11f. of your residential lease contract is where responsibility of fixing those items will be stated. Ideally you want this section to remain blank as that means that any items of personal property left by that landlord are left under warranty and the understanding that if anything were to go wrong with the items it is the landlords responsibility to have them repaired and/or replaced in a timely manner.

    5. So many times I find leases that charge an additional $100 for parking spaces for advertised units. Watch out for this! In my opinion it’s a silly way to advertise a property, as it makes tenants feel like they are getting nickel and dimed and you never want a potential buyer (in this case tenant) to feel that way but so many agents do it. Also make sure in section A. that if parking spaces are designated, you are shown the garage and the allotted parking spaces and that those spaces are noted in your written agreement. Last thing you want on move in day is to find that your parking space is actually a compact at the far end of the garage and your car door opens to the buildings dumpsters.

    6. My feelings here echo those that I wrote for persons occupying the unit, be honest. You may have to put more down on a pet deposit but the last thing you want is to get caught out by your landlord half way through your tenancy and your lease to be terminated.

    7. If the property you are leasing is a condo, make sure you are provided with the buildings CC&R’s. You will not believe the restrictions some buildings have and all you need is one nosey neighbor and before you know it you’ve violated HOA rules, possibly subject to fines and/or eviction. For example, there is a condo building in Hollywood that does not allow any homeowner to have a dog over 25 lbs.

    I hope this little breakdown helps you as you search for your new home but if you have any other questions about the contract, or any other real estate contract, please do not hesitate to email us at RealRealtyLA@gmail.com.

    Below is an example lease agreement that you can download and look over in its entirety.

    Example Lease Agreement

  • Real Estate 101 - Beginning Your Real Estate Search

    Posted Under: General Area in Los Angeles, Home Buying in Los Angeles, How To... in Los Angeles  |  February 24, 2012 3:11 PM  |  643 views  |  No comments

    Want to begin your home search but don’t know where to start? Allow us to make finding your new home as easy as checking your email in the morning. No stress, no hassle, no commitments.

    We at Real Realty LA will set you up with a personalized website that will email you whenever a new property that matches your criteria hits the market. Our personalized website searches LA’s most accurate and up-to-date real estate database for all properties (not just one’s within our office) that match your requirements.

    All you need to do is email realrealtyla@gmail.com from an active email address, with ‘Personalized Website’ in the subject line and your search criteria in the body of your email. Example search criteria are: location, price range, number of bedrooms and bathrooms. For a more narrowed down selection you can also specify zip codes, lot size and home square footage.

    ***Please remember that as a home buyer/renter, services from a real estate agent are free to you. It is the home seller/landlord who pays our commissions, so do not feel that by signing up for this service you will have to pay any money out of pocket.***

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    By signing up for this service you are agreeing to receive emails about properties that match your selected criteria. We promise you will not receive any additional emails unless you request more information.

    This is not about filling your inbox with spam but about helping you find your dream home without feeling pressure  from having a real estate agent constantly send you properties and pushing to take you out on showings.

 
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