Tuesday, November 17, 2015

4 Ways to Improve The Value of Your Home


Deferred Maintenance: Small repairs and the general neglect of a home can make it appear less appealing logo_gallerythan it really is.

Don’t be detracted by deferred maintenance; instead, perform an inspection to eliminate the risk of serious problems, then use the condition as a negotiation tool.

First Impressions:  More than one home has suffered from a bad first impression; overgrown shrubs, faded paint, lack of shutters and stained concrete walkways make any home look tired and dull.

Fortunately, first impressions are fast and affordable projects; landscaping, pressure washing and a new doorknob quickly turn a tired entrance into an inviting space.

Lights and Appliances: Upgrading lights and appliances might be one of the best ways to add value to any home.

Energy-efficient appliances and beautiful LED lighting not only provide a modern, up-to-date appearance but are quieter, easier to operate and more dependable than older models.

Cosmetically Challenged: Some homes simply suffer from wear & tear; old carpets and personalized paint choices may have once been your pride and joy but they usually don’t translate well into the general market.

Rather than succumbing to the “shock and awe” when encountering a cosmetically challenged home, focus on the structure and surroundings instead. Cosmetic fixes often result in the largest and best return on your dollar when it comes to adding value to the price of a home.

If you would like some specific ideas as they relate to your home and property, I would love the opportunity of speaking with you and giving you the perspective you need to improve your home’s value – Just give me a call 562-882-1581 or drop me an email Allison@SuperBroker.com.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Why ‘Comps’ are a Homeowner’s Best Friend



Whether you are buying or selling a home or entering into any other type of real estate transaction, chances are you will hear a lot about “comps” so it might come in handy to understand what they really are and why they matter.

Comps are comparisons between your property and other similar properties. Age, location, amenities, and the general condition of the home are all used to compare your property against others in the same general vicinity in order to establish a price or fair market value. Appraisers can only use properties as a comparable if it is the same city as the subject property, even if it is on the opposite side of the street; if it is in a different city, it CAN NOT be used.

Why the Asking Price of Your Neighbor’s Home Doesn’t Count

Many sellers mistakenly look at the asking price of homes in the immediate vicinity when trying to establish a listing price, but that is often a major mistake. Actual sales data is a much more reliable indicator of value, since some sellers can be overly optimistic when it comes to setting an asking price. The period of time of when a sale closed escrow is also a closely watched, for example it is usually within 90-120 days.

Buyers also benefit from obtaining accurate comp data in order to determine what amenities, upgrades, and other items are included. Even homes that superficially look exactly the same in terms of square footage or floor plans may have substantial upgrades or extras that dramatically impact the price of the home.

Get the Most Accurate Data

It is a good idea to insist upon accurate and up-to-date comps when buying or selling a home, and best to not confuse true comps with estimates or other inaccurate sources of data.

Many popular websites like Zillow and Trulia use estimates based upon self-reported data or generalized insurance replacement rates. While these may be useful for rough guidelines, they may cost you tens of thousands of dollars when buying or selling a home. It is best to only work with an agent who provides the latest information specific for the area you are considering.

Age, condition, maintenance, upgrades, amenities, landscaping, appliances, energy efficiency, attractiveness, and even whether or not you have a corner lot can make a tremendous difference in the desirability and price of a home.

Having worked in the Lakewood and Long Beach area for over 28 years and having sold over 1,000 homes I have come to know that the only way to determine the true value of a home is to do the proper research using the most accurate and up to date statistics and data. If you would like to find out what your home is worth, please visit www.LakewoodPrices.com and I will provide you with a computerized market analysis.

If you have any specific questions, please feel free to just give me a call ~ 562-882-1581.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Who Really Needs a Local Buyer's Agent?

Now that online listings provide potential homebuyers with instant access to homes for sale, there’s little reason to enlist the services of a buyer’s agent, right? Well, the short answer to that proposition is … wrong!


This opening statement, is based upon the notion that most of what all a buyer’s agent does for you is to find your new home. Veteran homeowners and first-time homebuyers alike, all know a buyer's agent’s services reach far beyond just the initial search.

Even so, taking that task on by yourself requires a great deal of diligence (and more time than most of us can spare). Most of the time the homes you find on Zillow or Trulia have already gone under contract by another buyer and are not even available for purchase.


A local buyer’s agent removes these obstacles by keeping a daily lookout for appropriate new listings as they come into the agents Multiple Listing Service. Knowing what their client wants, the agent then weeds out the homes that fall short of matching up with a buyer’s requirements, they also preview listings to save you time, they then play phone tag with listing agents to set up appointments so clients can tour the properties that may be THE ONE!

A local buyer’s agent has first-hand knowledge of our local neighborhoods and many times has already previewed the individual properties. That extra insight allows the agent to point out homes that you might not have picked from its listing alone, they can offer you homes that may be perfect for you in the long run.


The seller's listing agent works for the seller, not you. When you team up with your own buyer’s agent, you have someone in your corner who can offer you sound advice and represent only you throughout the entire process.

If you're a first time homebuyer, there’s an extra incentive; inevitably, you're going to have a lot of questions — and you'll benefit from the extra guidance you get on your first time through the home purchasing process. Even if you have purchased before … with all the changes and new legal documents involved in the home buying process, you need someone with experience to guide you and answer all your questions.

Help will come not only by identifying the right home, your buyer’s agent offers you with an experienced skill set that is needed to negotiate your purchase contract then upon a final agreement there is a myriad of other tasks to accomplish!

Among those other tasks are identifying a suitable home inspector, interpreting the resulting inspection report, and dealing with the voluminous paperwork that comes afterward … escrow instructions, a huge stack of disclosures, the list goes on and on!

While there is no requirement to engage a buyer’s agent in town, given the size of the investment you are going to be making, having someone in your corner makes good sense.


Van Wig & Associates philosophy is we will work hard for you and in return what we ask of you is that you are loyal to us … if we do not meet your expectations within a reasonable amount of time … then FIRE US and find another agent but working with an agent that is committed your success is the first step to becoming a happy homeowner.

Ready to buy? Good - because we are ready to go to work for you!

Search for Homes linked to the MLS www.AutomaticHomeSearch.com


Thursday, September 17, 2015

One of the Best priced homes in 90807

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Take a look at Bixby Area Home
Three bedroom, two baths, country style kitchen, nice size living room, and a lot that is over 7000 square feet. Nice patio area and raised planters.
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Call me today for more info. 562-882-1581

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Tips on Shopping for a Home If You Have a Furry Family Member


Shopping for a new home can be complicated enough when you’re dealing with humans; but when you start factoring in your family members from the animal kingdom, things can start to get a little bit on the hairy side.

Some of the major things to consider are … will your yard meet your dog’s tastes? Is there enough space indoors for your cat to roam? With pets, you have to take these questions and more into consideration, just as you would with human roommates.

Is Your Pet Welcome?

Buying a house is certainly much different than renting. You make the rules, so no more strict guidelines on whether or not you can have your companions. However, you still have to comply with local regulations, or risk some severe consequences.

Familiarize yourself with local law on pet regulations. Laws on how many dogs can reside in a household vary not only between countries, states, and provinces, but can even vary from county to county. Thus, even a move a short hour away can potentially mean that you’ll have to apply for special permits to keep your animals around. Cats generally aren’t subject to laws as strict as canine regulations, but if you have a more exotic species than these, you’ll want to confirm that you’re not running afoul of any legalities. You may need to apply for licenses and permits, and be subject to inspections by state organizations. Be prepared, and reconsider the area if laws are too draconian.

Get the Facts on Whether the House Is Up to Standards

Some homes are better-suited for pets than others, and you should keep this in mind when house-hunting. Before you hit the pavement, make a list of some necessities that your pets will need in a home, and note whether or not they’re must-haves.

For example, if you have a dog, inspecting a prospective house’s yard is a must. Fencing is all but a necessity, and you’ll need to make sure that the fence is up to the task of keeping your dog safely inside. Is it tall enough that your dog is unable to jump it, and installed well enough that your dog can’t dig under? If you’ve fallen in love with a house that has a miniscule yard, you may be tempted to excuse away the flaw – after all, you can take your dog on walks, take them to the dog park, and so on – but if you’re not dedicated to following up on those promises, your pet will suffer for it. Sometimes, you can pick up the slack on a dream home by making the missing pieces into a home improvement project. Fencing can be installed, kitty windowsills can be built, and other pet-friendly amenities can be implemented after you’ve moved in. However, you don’t want to bind yourself into a potentially lengthy and expensive project right after you’ve signed that mortgage contract, and have your pet be bored and stressed while you try to get their new home up to speed. In a pinch, you might consider having your pets stay with a friend or relative while you fix up the place – it’ll keep them from being underfoot while construction is underway, and will let you introduce them to a fully settled home.

See Who Your Neighbors Are

When you’re considering a new home, you’ll need to consider the area around it, as well – and this goes double for if you have animals. See who your neighbors are, and see if your pet will receive a warm welcome…or if you’re going to be biting off more than you and your pets can chew.

A neighbor with pets may wind up being your new best friend if approached correctly, but can just as easily become a huge thorn in your side. Approach your neighbors and introduce yourself without any pets in tow. While you may want to have your pets be part of your welcoming crew, it’s just not a good idea: you don’t know if neighbors have pets that are flung into a frenzy at the mere whiff of another animal, you don’t know if neighbors are phobic of your pet, and you don’t know if your neighbors just plain don’t like animals. Tell your neighbors that you’re considering moving in nearby, and are feeling out the atmosphere for you, your family, and your pets. If you establish a good rapport with a neighbor, you may be able to ask if there are any households with problem animals around. As an example, if a neighbor has a dog that’s poorly-trained, aggressive, or a constant barker (or, heavens help you, all three), you may want to seriously reconsider moving in next door. If your neighbors aren’t interested in keeping their dog under control with proper training and restraints, you, your pets, and even your family members can wind up facing real and present danger.

Poorly-behaved neighbors and the pets that love them aren’t just limited to the canine stripe. A neighbor who lets an aggressive cat wander the outdoors can pose just as much a danger to you and yours – anyone who has owned a dog and cat at the same time can attest that cats are no slouch in a dog fight. Beyond cats and dogs, your neighbors may wind up owning something more exotic. While individuals who own unique pets (such as chickens, goats, alpaca, etc.) are generally in-touch with their care and will go to certain lengths to make sure their oddities don’t affect their neighbors, there are some things you have to accept as someone living next door to a chicken coop: a certain amount of clucking, and free eggs if you play your cards right. Know what you’re getting into, and bow out if it’s not something you can safely handle.

Researching a new home takes a lot out of you, but when it comes to having the best place for you and your family – pets and all – your efforts will be richly rewarded in the end. Do your homework, make some neighborhood friends, and have patience. Your pets will adapt to the change of scenery, and will come to love their new home.

I have several years experience of working with buyers who have furry family members, if you have any questions on how you can make your house hunting journey a little easier, just give me a call!

Allison Van Wig  ~  562-882-1581


Monday, August 31, 2015

Maximize Your Home’s Curb Appeal with These Home Improvement Projects


Improving your home’s curb appeal is the number one way to create a buyer’s interest in your home, plus you improve your odds of really getting the price tag the property deserves.

Curb appeal projects can range from the simple to the complex, and even the smallest improvements can have big results in a buyer’s eye. However, if you really want to maximize your home’s curb appeal, a total property makeover might be in order. These home improvement projects are great for a range of budgets and DIY know-how, and can give you the results you really need to sell your home fast.

Getting in at the Front Door

The front door: so humble, and yet so symbolic. Your front door will draw the eye of anyone looking at your home, and will say a lot about the house itself: dark and bronzed hardwoods with metal accents gives off a sense of elegance and sophistication, while a more simple door painted in timeless whites will have a more classic and welcoming aesthetic. First impressions are vital, so make sure that your door is a pleasing sight to see.

Front door and entryway improvements are some of the simplest and most rewarding curb appeal projects you can take up, and should be one of the first things on your list as far as improvements go. Repainting a door will only take an hour or so out of your afternoon, as will replacing it entirely with a new piece. Door-knockers, knobs, and bells should be in line with the style of the rest of your home – they’re subtle nods at the style you’re going for, so make them count. Accent the door and entryway with a seasonal floral wreaths and planters for color and charm. Extending the planters down your steps and into your walkway can bring the look together, and direct buyers’ eyes the way you want them.

Lawn and Garden Redesign Projects

When the phrase “curb appeal” comes up, what most people think of is a lush lawn and garden. Fields of gorgeous green grass and a lush garden are certainly appealing to buyers looking at your home, and a unique and well-designed estate will catch the eye (and fetch a nice price tag). So, when redesigning your lawn and garden for max curb appeal, think big: the most popular gardens on today’s real estate market merge beauty and functionality for a complete package. But don’t forget, here in California we need to remain mindful of our drought situation and plant drought tolerant plants.

Popular garden designs today go for a rustic look: cobblestone paths and aged wood are great materials to gravitate towards, with aged brass or copper fixtures. However, don’t count out stone tiles. Geometric designs and patterns are huge in today’s design market, and a tiled geometric centerpiece for your garden can really catch the eye.

Bring your garden around your whole property to bring your lawn project together with your home itself – you don’t want your painstakingly-prepared garden to stand out like a sore thumb in an otherwise blank and boring property. Your whole property is your canvas, so make sure you home is appealing right to the curb. Front yard improvement projects should tend toward the minimalist: you don’t want to take attention away from your home, but rather, accentuate its good traits. Frame your home with flowering or evergreen trees for lasting and low-maintenance results, or add some planters to your front lawn for color and interest.

A fence and terraced entryway adds charm and privacy, and allows you to extend your gardening canvas even further: climbing ivy will take to wooden fences well, and edging any fence with floral and green elements adds visual interest. With all of this improvement, don’t let your mailbox be left behind: a drab aluminum standing mailbox will stick out against an otherwise lush and well-designed yard. Bring your mailbox in line with the rest of your aesthetic, in material and color both, and bring it in on the garden party by planting some greens and florals around it. Be careful that these additions don’t block your mailman’s sight, though – a beautiful mailbox won’t get much use if your mailman has to rustle through a jungle to get to it.

Home Exterior Improvement

While garden and yard design gets most of the attention when it comes to curb appeal, don’t forget to dress up your home itself. A well-designed property might draw in buyers, but a home with bad siding and peeling paint will stand out like a rotten tooth in an otherwise beautiful smile. This is a prime time for you to completely revamp your home’s look and update it to be in line with the market’s current tastes, so make good use of the opportunity. Complex re-siding and re-roofing projects should generally be left to professional contractors to ensure that your home remains in code, but if you’ve got the DIY itch, they can be done with a bit of elbow grease, some research into your local housing laws, and a few YouTube tutorials.

You can make your home feel more connected with your property by bringing accents from your yard and garden to it. Climbing ivy is always an elegant touch, and window boxes are quick and easy-to-maintain ways to add a splash of color to your home’s exterior – add colorful shutters to really complete the classic look. Match your home’s aesthetic to your lawn and garden’s: a rustic home can have the same aged wood and brass accents as your garden, while a more contemporary home will benefit from more sleek and modern pieces. When you’ve got a complete look, it will bring your property’s whole package together, and will work with your interior design and staging to get buyers’ interest piqued, and their wallets opened.

Prepping your property for prospective buyers is just as important as prepping your rooms indoors, and great curb appeal can really set the stage for a solid sales pitch. These projects will get you real results on the real estate market, and will make your property sell faster – and for a bigger price tag overall. They’re a solid investment, and one that any home-selling hopeful should try. If you would like to talk about how to enhance the curb appeal of your home … just give me a call … I would love the opportunity of speaking with you and answering any questions that you might have.


562-882-1581  Allison@SuperBroker.com

Friday, August 21, 2015

What Family Buyers Are Really Looking for in Your Home


Selling your home is all about knowing what your target buyer’s market wants, and appealing to it. Different types of buyers require different approaches to best appeal to their needs and wants, and one of the most common buyer types is the family buyer.

These people are interested in how your home will work for them and their loved ones, and how well the house will grow with them over the years. Check out what families will be looking for when they’re on a visit to your home.

Location, Location, Location

It’s common knowledge that real estate is all about location, when it comes to family buyers, it’s still true. Families want to know that your home is in an appropriate and convenient area for their needs: for example, is it along bus routes, or will their children have to walk or be driven? What is the quality and reputation of the local school district? Is it right next to a busy street or highway? How far is it away from local conveniences, such as grocery stores, doctor’s offices, and more fun locales such as movie theaters and malls? Family buyers have busy lives, and want to make sure that their new home’s location doesn’t make things more stressful – and want to make sure that their children have the entertainment and socialization opportunities that they deserve.

If your home is in a prime location, be sure to talk this topic up. A great location can make for a real boost to your home’s value, so it’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. However, if your home doesn’t measure up in this regard, it’s not the end of the world: it just requires a different sales pitch. More remote homes can easily be sold on their peaceful, natural surroundings, and conversely, homes located on busy streets can be sold on their proximity to local amenities. Play to the strengths of your home’s location, and don’t ever talk it down – stay positive, and your pitch will be stronger

Space to Live, and Room to Grow

A spacious house is an easy sell for any buyer, but it’s especially important for families. More members of the household means more space needed, and if your home has extra bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, and spacious outdoor yardage, you’ll find yourself with a host of interested applicants. Having the space to begin with is a plus, but having room to expand further can be even better; especially if your buyers are considering adding to their family at any point in the future. A spacious lawn is a great feature for buyers with children, pets, or just a real passion for gardening.

Unfortunately, not all homes can be the spacious dream houses these buyers are looking for, but you can do your part to stage your home properly to give the illusion of more space.

I have always offered staging services to help my seller clients but here are some tips to consider when getting your home ready to sell.

Clear clutter from your rooms and yard: pack up personal knickknacks and decorations (you’re going to be moving soon anyway, after all), and clear your lawn of debris.

Staging is essential when trying to sell any home, but is all the more important when you’re trying to sell something small. Small rooms benefit from plentiful lighting, minimal clutter, and furniture that’s suited to the size of the room. Pull that oversized couch out and replace it with a loveseat, and replace a large, heavy coffee table with a lighter, glass-topped number to give the illusion it’s taking up less space. Staging is the next best thing to a proper expansion, so instead of knocking down walls, speak to your real estate agent. They often provide staging consultation services to interested applicants.

A Home Ready to Be Lived In

The home-buying process is a tedious and stressful one, and your buyers want to make sure their new home is ready to be lived in right away. While DIY enthusiasts might be charmed by a fixer-upper, most buyers will be scared off by a house that requires a lot of work to measure up to their standards – or one that requires a lot of work to live in comfortably, period. Even a low-impact project like painting or retiling rooms can scare off families who are strapped for time, skill, or cash – home-buying takes a lot of resources from a person. They want a house that’s up to code, up to speed, and ready to give them the comfort they need to live their lives.

Thus, it’s your duty as a seller to get your home up to speed as far as maintenance and beautification goes. Get your home professionally-inspected, especially in areas where it really counts regarding utilities and structural integrity: such as getting your basement inspected for water damage, having your electrical work tested, or getting upper rooms and attics inspected for drafts and holes. If anything has been bothering you in your house now, it’ll start bothering your buyers too, so take the initiative to get it fixed now. These projects will not only protect you against potential lawsuits, but further beautification and improvement projects will add a few extra digits to your home’s price tag on the market. It’s a sound investment that any seller should consider.

Appealing to family buyers is a smart move as a home seller, as they make up a solid portion of the buying market. With a little work and a well thought-out sales pitch, you’ll be able to appeal to their needs in a new home, and give them the help they need to find that perfect house to grow old in.

If you would additional information on how to get your home ready to sell or would like my professional advice on how I would stage your home just let me know. I would welcome the opportunity of speaking with you …

Until next time … all my best!

Allison Van Wig  562-882-1581