Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Remodeling, By the Numbers

Thinking about re-doing that kitchen, and wondering if it will make sense if you decide to sell your home?

I get it -- it can be hard to find the balance between making sure that the improvements you make to your home are gonna get your the best bang for your buck VS. the heart-sinking feeling of knowing you've over-done your home, and tough-noogies -- you ain't getting your investment back when you go to sell.

Well, if you're in the position of having to make these sorts of decisions, here's a guideline that may give you some guidance. I always say that while you live on this property, you should be happy living there. If you have super-idiosyncratic tastes, that's wonderful, but you may get more $$ when you sell by going funky on your furniture and decor vs. that crazy-weird sink/vanity combo you got going on in your master en suite.

According to the Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report conducted by Remodeling Magazine, LESS IS MORE people!

Kitchens are still offering the most bang for their buck, so if you're thinking about pouring some extra dough in there, do it.

Smaller projects are tending to give the biggest return on investment -- like a new front door, or a new garage door. So if you spend $ updating these items, buyers seem to appreciate the value in these items, so you don't need to break the bank by trying to finagle that expensive bedroom addition.

Read the article for more details here:$xPtGU&om_ntype=BTNMonthly

All of these improvements' potential value also highly depends on what area you live in, so it might be a good idea to consult with your real estate pro regarding any potential projects you are thinking of, and get an idea of how comparable homes look in your 'hood.

Happy Remodeling & Updating!

DTLA HOAs in Litigation

Believe it or not, 4-5 years after the height of the recession where many buildings in DTLA were in litigation, there are still some HOAs in DTLA that currently hold that status.

Litigation in HOAs are important to be aware of because they can affect financing in the building. If as a homeowner, you wanted to refinance your home, mainstream lenders may view the litigation as a red flag and reject your home mortgage application. The same goes with a seller looking to sell his or unit to a new buyer -- the new buyer may not be able to get financing from a mainstream lender, which may leave the seller with all cash buyers or buyers willing to pay a slightly higher rate to get a loan with a lender who can fund with a non-warrantable loan.

Some HOAs currently in litigation Downtown include Little Tokyo Lofts at 420 S San Pedro, Market Lofts at 645 W 9th St, and the original Barker Block complex at 510 & 530 Hewitt St in the Arts District.

The Little Tokyo litigation has to do with the commercial space within the complex, the Market Lofts litigation regarding the parking for residents, and the Barker Block complex regarding construction defects within the complex.

Always, ALWAYS read the fine print, and see how the litigation may affect you and your particular situation. If you are looking to purchase in the building, perhaps after reading the details of the litigation, you find the issues pertaining to the lawsuit are not materially important or would not affect you in particular, but better to know the facts and ask all the questions before proceeding.

Happy Buying and Selling!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What Happened in DTLA Real Estate in 2014? Check it out...

There was an around a 2-3% uptick in prices from 2013 to 2014, with DTLA showing a strong surge in properties in escrow at the end of 2014.

Three percent may not sound like much, but let’s take it to some real numbers so you understand what this means in dollars and cents. If a property was worth $600,000 in 2013, then it was worth $618,000, average, in 2014. It a loft was worth $800,000 in 2013, then within a year, the value went up $24,000 to $824,000.

What does that mean? If you’re sitting on the sidelines and want to buy in DTLA – don’t. Prices are ticking up, and while the average may show a 3% increase, I can tell you first-hand about clients who’ve sold and made a 333% profit on their original down payment in 2 years. Another client sold their unit within a year-and-a-half and they had a $125,000 profit to help them move on to their next home. It all depends on the building, the unit, and if it’s a nice unit, it will go into multiple offers.

My last 4 listings in DTLA — all within the last 6 months — all went into multiple offers. The last DTLA offer I wrote — 2 days ago — had 3 offers and this is in the $800,000 range.

So here’s some advice for those of you looking to make your DTLA move this year: if you like the unit, make an offer immediately. If you like the unit and there are multiple offers, write at list price or more.

For you statistical types, here are the numbers for you to crunch:

Market Report - Downtown LA 2014

Have you checked out Latitudes in Silver Lake? Here's your chance...

I had the chance to stop by this lovely new construction site on Waverly last week, close to Glendale and Rowena if you're heading over to Atwater Village.

There seems to be a ton of new construction projects out there now with SL70, 5112 Melrose, and Gramercy at Hollywood all nearby. That being said, this one is less than a mile walk to the restaurants and shops on Rowena, all the cool stuff on Atwater's Glendale Blvd stretch, and Trader Joe's/Gelsons, which is no small feat. And it's got a community pool for those residents wanting to partake in the SoCal lifestyle.

While these different communities offer similar price points, offerings of roof-top decks, etc. -- I think the biggest decision-maker for which new construction project you would move forward with will be the exact location you want to be in. Hollywood ain't Silver Lake, and SL70s location is waaay different than this one at Latitudes. So drive or walk around, and pick your poison.

Here are some pics of the actual units for your viewing pleasure (because who can resist a little real estate porn?).
Beautiful and utilitarian kitchen island/breakfast bar
Beautiful and utilitarian kitchen island/breakfast bar
Living room
Living room
Roof top deck view
Roof top deck view
Roof top deck view
Roof top deck view
Living room with balcony at Latitudes
Living room with balcony at Latitudes
Great room at Latitudes
Great room at Latitudes

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

FHA and VA Loans More Viable?

Yes, it's been a busy last year in real estate, but the fervor overall seems to be cooling down a bit, and with that, any buyers who are utilizing FHA or VA financing should be in good spirits -- your offers will be considered!

For you buyers looking for homes on the market, I know it must've been very discouraging for you this past year, but things are loosening up, and it's important now you keep focused and make sure you're working with a GOOD FHA or VA mortgage lender.

With these two loan types in particular, your lender is of UTMOST importance in getting the deal done for you. Why? With FHA, your loan gets assigned a case number, and if that loan is placed in the hands of an inexperienced lender who doesn't know the ins-and-outs, it could mean bye-bye loan, an angry seller, canceling escrow, and utter disappointment. Save yourself the grief.

FHA has also made some changes where they've shortened the mandatory waiting periods to get an FHA loan:

-3 years from a short sale -3 years from a foreclosure -2 years from a bankruptcy

In some cases, if the short sale, foreclosure, or bankruptcy came from a documented income loss of 20% or more, you might qualify for another purchase within 12 months of the event.

So if you're thinking about tapping out of the game, don't do it just yet. Stay strong!

Happy Buying!

Caroline Choi Real Estate
Caroline Sells The City LA

5 Reasons you Need a Realtor!

Today's 5 reminders as to why you need a realtor:

So send your realtor a virtual hug today. :)

Caroline Choi Real Estate
Caroline Sells The City LA

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Quickie Primer on Escrow and Taxes

Ever wonder what escrow's role is in helping sort out what your property taxes, documentary transfer taxes, and other tax liabilities would be from a sale or purchase of real property?

Here's a quickie primer, courtesy of our friends at Lawyer's Title:

As you can see, escrow really helps get these items taken care of for buyers and sellers by getting them to the proper agencies. Hooray escrow! Thank your escrow officer and company your next transaction - I'm sure they'll appreciate it.

Happy Buying and Selling!

Caroline Choi Real Estate
Caroline Sells The City LA