Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Putting Safety First During a Home Sale

Whether you are a Realtor, a Buyer or a Seller … it is always good advice to follow safety precautions!

Read about Crimes against real estate agents

At Van Wig & Associates, we as agents are always striving to provide the best of service when a prospective buyer or seller calls and asks to meet us at a property however, due to several recent cases of violence against real estate agents while showing a home, there are certain things we all need to be mindful of.

Even under the best of circumstances and with the very best professional agent having been selected, selling or buying a home can most often be a nerve-wracking and stressful time.

Unfortunately, too many members of the marketplace end up making this event more stressful by failing to give safe practices their due. In an effort to keep you firmly out of this category, let’s reach out to some leading experts from around the real estate market and hear what they have to say about keeping everyone involved in a sale; buyers, sellers and agents alike, all safe and secure.

Does something seem too good to be true with a potential new home? Is the other person involved in the process acting oddly? While these questions might seem over-the-top at first glance, the truth of the matter is that you can never be too cautious when dealing with others during the sale or purchase of a home.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re ready to go see an available home or entertain a potential buyer at your house. While there’s usually nothing to worry about when it comes to dealing with other people, you can never do too much to avoid interacting with the small minority of the population that doesn’t have your best interests at heart. With this in mind, here’s some essential tips and considerations that can help keep you and your family protected during this pivotal point in your lives.

Meet and Greet in a Public Place

At the top of the list of safety tips to consider when heading into a sale, according to the Police Department of Criminal Prevention in Mesa, Arizona, is meeting and greeting with the other parties in a public place. Whether this means reaching out to your Realtor in his or her office, or meeting with a buyer or seller at an agreed upon open location, sticking to areas that are full of other people and activity is a great way to avoid finding yourself in an unsavory or potentially harmful situation.

Once you’ve met up with the other parties involved, don’t hesitate to perform a “check-up from the neck up.” Aside from serving as a funny saying, this concept represents the notion that if something doesn’t seem right with the person you’re working with, don’t be afraid to call off the viewing of the home. Your instincts are an invaluable asset, so listening to them and avoiding a situation that just doesn’t feel safe is perfectly acceptable when it comes to dealing with strangers.

Leave a “Paper Trail”

In addition to strategically planning out your initial meetings with others, it’s also a good idea to leave a paper trail whenever you’re heading out to browse through home listings. Offering up a schedule or agenda to friends and family members, as well as carrying multiple forms of identification, ensures that at least one person knows where you are at all times in case something goes wrong.

If you really want to go the extra mile on this front as the seller of a property, requesting that any interested parties in your home have preapproval from a lending agency helps keep these viewers relegated to only the most serious of potential buyers.

Take Time to Assess the Situation

As far as searching for a new home goes, Lew Sichelman of the Los Angeles Times suggests spending a few minutes to assess the situation before rushing in headfirst. Exciting though it make be to explore a new home, dealing with all of the unknowns that come with this process naturally carries a certain amount of risk.

For instance, if you’re looking to purchase an abandoned or vacant home, structural damage, squatters, wild animals, and a variety of other issues could pose a threat to you and anyone else who joins you on this trip. While the odds of dealing with these problems are far less likely in a traditional home-purchasing situation, it still never hurts to spend a few moments assessing the situation for any safety risks or hazards.

Never Travel Alone

Speaking of heading out to view available properties, it’s also a good idea to bring along a friend, family member, or your trusted realtor when setting out on this path. Having a second set of eyes and ears available to you during this time can ensure that you properly audit the situation for any potential threats or concerns. Additionally, having someone else with you during this time can serve as a strong deterrent for any illicit or underhanded tactics committed by less than savory individuals.

Protect Your Home During a Showing

For those of you who aren’t looking to buy a home, but rather sell your current property, the experts over at the National Association of Realtors’ Realtor magazine point out that there’s still plenty of concerns worthy of consideration before you rush into entertaining strangers in your home. Specifically the open house and home-showing portions of the process stand out as major areas of concern.

Having unknown individuals in your home is always a risk, but participating in an event like an open house exacerbates the issue. To help safeguard your property, always lock away “high interest” items – like jewelry and electronics – before a viewing. This process takes just a few minutes and makes a world of difference when dealing with large groups of people.

In terms of handling visitors, a good rule of thumb is to always stick to a schedule. Much like the paper trail discussed earlier, only entertaining visitors who set an appointment to see your home ensures that unexpected “drop-ins” don’t become an issue.

Keeping Your Head on Straight

Unfortunately, there’s nothing that you can do to completely erase the risks that come with interacting with strangers during the buying and selling of a home. It’s an issue that plagues any industry built upon connecting with others – not just the real estate world. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re completely out of options for protecting and safeguarding yourself during these times.

By putting what you’ve learned here to good use – including partnering up for home visits and stowing away your valuables during an open house – and remaining vigilant throughout the process, there’s no reason that you and your family can’t find an outcome that’s just right for your needs.

Remember Allison Van Wig of Van Wig & Associates wants to help you during this process of searching for and selling a home to be as productive and free of stress as possible. To find out how to make your real estate goals a reality, give us a call!

ALLISON VAN WIG // 562-882-1581

Van-Wig-Associates-Logo2

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

100 DAYS OF SUMMER 2015 - SO MANY FUN THINGS TO DO!

ONE OF THE REASONS I LOVE SELLING REAL ESTATE IN LONG BEACH & LAKEWOOD ARE ALL THE COMMUNITY ORIENTED EVENTS THAT ARE AVAILABLE ... TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT LONG BEACH HAS TO OFFER WITH 100 DAYS OF SUMMER!


As I have said many times before, when it comes to living in Long Beach California there are so many things you can do that are inexpensive and fun for everyone … from Memorial Day to Labor Day ... the summer of 2015 is no different!

Once again this year the Long Beach Parks Recreation and Marine Department is offering hundreds of free and low cost recreational events under the name of “100 Days of Summer.”
From the Long Beach Sea Festival,  the El Dorado Nature Center, historic site events and various programs for hiking, biking, golf, tennis, swimming and youth and teen programs there is so much do to that I don’t know how we are all going to find the time to go to work … LOL!

You can find out all about these great activities at www.100DaysofSummer.org where you will find a searchable calendar of free concerts and movies in addition to all of the activities that I mentioned.

 If you would like to get more information about living in Long Beach, I have been selling homes in the Long Beach & Lakewood communities for over 27 years ...

I would love to help you learn more about our area and how you too can enjoy 100 days of summer ... until next time ...

Allison Van Wig  ... 562-882-1581 ... Over 1,000 Homes Sold

Thursday, June 25, 2015

3D TECHNOLOGY + OLD FASHION REAL ESTATE SERVICE = HAPPY SELLERS FOR ALLISON VAN WIG

SS OF 3D

 

SERVING LAKEWOOD AND LONG BEACH HOME SELLERS & BUYERS FOR OVER 27 YEARS … NOW USING ADVANCED TECHNOLGY TO PRESENT OUR SELLER’S LISTINGS TO THE BUYERS OF TODAY.

 

This technology works on all platforms, and all mobile devices and computers

Try it out now and if you would like to see your home presented … using this cutting edge technology … let Van Wig & Associates and Allison Van Wig WORK FOR YOU!

TAKE AN ON-LINE WALKING TOUR OF ALLISON'S NEW LISTING

FOR FAVICON

 

ALLISON VAN WIG

562-882-1581   Allison@SuperBroker.com

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

5 BEDROOMS IN LAKEWOOD AT A GREAT PRICE!

Wonderful Lakewood home. 




















Large living room with granite fireplace and hardwood floors. 



Family kitchen with lots of cupboard and counter space. 



Five bedrooms, three downstairs and two upstairs. The master suite has vaulted ceilings and a balcony overlooking the backyard. 


Sparkling salt water pool, large patio area with fireplace and covered patio with misters. Dual pane windows, central air and heat. 



This home was made for entertaining.




FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 562-728-7772

IF YOU ARE THINKING OF SELLING OR

JUST CURIOUS OF YOUR HOME'S WORTH?

CALL ALLISON 

562-882-1581




Friday, May 29, 2015

6 Tips for Removing Kitchen Clutter While Selling Your First Home

Preparing your home for a sale can be an overwhelming process. You might not be sure where to even start, that's why removing clutter from the kitchen is a great place to begin.

So much of life takes place around the kitchen. It's where people come together to cook, share about their day, and make memories. A well-staged kitchen will not only help you attract potential buyers, but it will showcase one of the most frequently used spaces in your home.

Carla Hill of Realty Times suggests, “Kitchens are integral to entertaining and in today's age of open floor plans, they're a focal piece of many family rooms. It's because of this that kitchens play such an important role in the buying and selling process.” Carla added, “Sometimes a kitchen update can mean doing just a few minor changes. Change the paint color to a warm neutral tone. Get rid of any clutter. Update your appliances, paint your cabinets, change the pulls, or get a high-end looking counter for a fraction of the cost (faux-granite or lower end granite). You might even save a bundle by doing much of the work yourself. The bottom line is a kitchen can sell a home.”

I would like to offer you the following 6 tips will may help you prepare your home for a quick and successful sale:

Clean Countertops
Walking into a home with bare countertops provides an instantly well-kept first impression. The minimalist counter also highlights extra space in the kitchen that could otherwise be lost under too much clutter. Cambria Bold, the design and lifestyle editor from The Kitchn says it best, “Messy countertops—heck, even countertops that have pretty things, but just too many of them—can make a kitchen feel untidy and claustrophobic, whereas mostly clear countertops are invigorating and inspiring. They also invite you to cook, instead of feeling like your kitchen is unready for you.”

Make-Over the Refrigerator
Quirky magnets, colorful art, and postcards might remind you of special memories, but when it comes to selling your house, less is best. Avoid turning the front of your refrigerator into a gallery wall. This not only takes away from the functionality of the kitchen, but it can be extremely distracting to potential buyers who are trying to envision their life in your home. After you've successfully cleared the front, make sure you give the inside a thorough cleaning. Go through your fridge and toss expired, leaking, or odor causing foods. Try to keep your shelves clear and organized, in order to display the storage capabilities of your main kitchen appliance.
Julie Stevens, a real estate sales representative with Bond New York recommends leaving some items in original containers in order to emphasize close proximity to desirable supermarkets. Ms. Stevens shares, “If a potential buyer is looking through your home and sees a label from one of those stores,” she said, it might prompt them to ask if the store is nearby. And “That could be a huge selling point.”

Keep it Kitchen
For most families, the kitchen is typically one the busiest gathering places of the home, which is why organization is key. It's easy for a kitchen countertop to become the dump zone for miscellaneous household items, but if it isn't kitchen related, it must go. Keep a bin on the end of your counter as a catchall for the random things that end up cluttering your space. Then at the end of each day, go through the bin and re-home all the wayward items. This will cut down on the time you have to spend tidying up before each showing. Rather than spend precious time corralling all the bits and pieces, the catchall also makes it easier to store out of sight in a hurry for those last minute showings.

Stage the Pantry
Your pantry might usually look more on the haphazard side of things, but when preparing your home for sale, great staging can cinch the deal. Use your pantry to play up the functionality and storage capacity of your kitchen. Another suggestion is to pare back the contents of your pantry until you have some open space on each shelf. Organize what's left into a set of matching food storage containers or open baskets. This may mean removing a bunch of food—just remember that a staged kitchen is not necessarily a practical kitchen! As with items from your cupboards, keep extra pantry goods in a box out of sight during showings if you must.

Eliminate Odors
No one wants to cook up something in a kitchen that already smells questionable. Avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink and purge the refrigerator of old food on a regular basis. Kathleen Squires of Real Simple advises, “Place a box of baking soda in the freezer and another in the refrigerator to absorb and neutralize smells; replace them every three months. Alternatives: a mound of charcoal; coffee beans in a bowl; or a cotton ball soaked in vanilla extract and kept in the refrigerator until dry.” You can also keep nasty odors at bay, by using odor blocking garbage can liners, and play up that 'freshly baked' smell by using a candle warmer in a welcoming kitchen scent.

Reduce Excess
Potential Buyers want to explore the space in your kitchen, as they imagine what their life might look like within those walls. Go through your cupboards, drawers, and pantry with the objective to only leave items that are frequently used and essential. Professional Organizer Debbie Lillard suggests, “The kitchen is a very practical place, and most people I meet have more stuff than storage. So only keep what you use on a regular basis. If there is something you use only a few times a year (ice bucket, punch bowl, warming tray, etc.) those items can be stored away in a basement or closet.” Streamlining will not only cut down on clutter before showings, it will enhance the important features, so that your kitchen can truly shine.

As a full-time Realtor for over 28 years I know how important it can be for a home to make a great first impression that is why I offer free staging to my home sellers, for more ideas on what you can do to put your home in the very best light, feel free to give me a call or drop me an email.

562-882-1581 or Allison@SuperBroker.com  …


You can also visit my YouTube Channel to see more pictures of homes with picture-perfect kitchens … www.YouTube.com/LakewoodVanWig

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Understanding Condo Fees 101

 

001Buying a condo is a lot like purchasing a house. You are paying for property that you own and can potentially live in. However they often have a hidden price that can drive up monthly costs considerably

Condo fees are used to pay for the maintenance, care, and safety of the complex you live in. Unfortunately, many people do not take these into consideration during the purchase process – don’t get caught unaware! This guide will help you understand your condo fees so you have more time (and money) to spend enjoying your new home. 

Depending on where you live and how property rates are structured, the exact condo fees that are charged and what you will get for your money will vary. Generally they work on a sliding scale, with larger spaces paying more and smaller ones shouldering less of the burden. The exact cost of these fees, and the services that they pay for, will vary greatly between different locations, and often you end up getting what you pay for.
Fees will tend to vary year by year, depending on the value of the property itself. In most cases they will go up slightly on an annual basis, though it is possible that they could go down if there is a surplus or a reduction in utilities and services offered. However this is not supposed to be a profit based item, and is instead compensation for services rendered to the residents of the complex.

Condo Fees Cover Many Different Services

There are a number of different services that can be provided in return for condo fees. The most basic include general maintenance of the complex, including the repair of plumbing, heat, and electrical issues. They also help with cosmetic maintenance such as fresh coats of paint on a regular basis, and the repair of minor damage to fixtures and major appliances in each unit. These are simple things that will need to be done often just to maintain the integrity of the building that you are living in.
In some cases these fees will also include exterior care and upkeep including landscaping, and maintenance of the lawns, trees, and other vegetation in the area. That helps to keep the entire community looking pleasant, without forcing the residents to actually take on these tasks themselves. It also maintains the value of the condo that you purchased, so that it does not depreciate due to untended care.
Another common use for condo fees is to pay for monthly utilities such as heat and electricity. It will usually include trash pick up as well. In some upscale locations, free high speed Internet, cable, and other luxury services may also be included in this package.
Some fancier amenities that can be included may be the maintenance of a pool, a garden, a small park, or even access to a rooftop patio. Many condos also offer washer and dryers in each unit and a full service gym in a common area. In some cases you can even get concierge service, making your home feel like an upscale hotel, with all costs covered by your monthly condo fees.

Not All Condo Fees Go To Pay For Large-Scale Disasters

The fees that you pay are supposed to go directly towards the maintenance of the buildings and amenities in the unit, but sometimes large-scale disasters can occur such as fires, floods, and weather events. Some condo associations set aside a portion of all income in a contingency fund to help pay for such situations. However others do not, and in those cases an assessment fee may be charged to residents to help repair the damage. This can be a significant cost, and should also be part of your budget and saving plan for your financial future when moving into your condo.

Decide If You Need028-Exercise_Room-1356019-print All Amenities027-Pool-1356018-print Offered

 

 

 

One of the greatest drawbacks to condo fees is that they can significantly drive up the cost of living in a condo, even if you have purchased it outright. In general the extra monthly bill can actually increase the price of living there to the point where it equals a single-family home of the same size. You may also end up paying fees for services and or amenities that you do not use. If you don’t drive, then maintenance on a parking place will be wasted on you. If you can’t swim, then paying extra for pool cleaning is a waste as well. That is why you should evaluate the entire fee structure before deciding on the condo community that you would like to reside in.

On the other hand, not all condo fees are bad. These payments go towards the maintenance of your home and neighborhood. In some cases it may even be desirable to have higher condo fees assessed monthly, as that should reflect in the amenities and level of service that you receive. However this is a personal choice that you have to make before purchasing a condo. Make sure that you read the agreement carefully in order to ascertain exactly what you will be getting for your money.

When you are deciding whether you want to purchase a condo it is important that you factor these fees into the monthly price that you will be paying. Many people fail to notice these costs, and end up in a situation where they are paying far more than they expected.

The best way to evaluate whether a real estate purchase is a good idea is to look at it from a long term perspective, understanding what your goals are for the future, while remaining bound to a strict budget that you can afford right now.

If you are thinking of buying a condo, visit our property search website to find condos in your area. www.AutomaticHomeSearch.com

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

House Hunting Checklist: Your A-Z Guide To Finding The Perfect Home

The Basic Elements You Need To Find The Best Home For Your Situation

There are a number of things that every buyer should keep in mind when buying a home. Having an A-Z checklist will help you to remember all of the things that you are looking for in your new property.

A: An Experienced Real Estate Agent: You need to find an agent who will work FOR YOU and provide you with the best possible service. Do they know the area; will they preview property for you to save you time? Do they return your phone calls; do they listen to you when you give them feedback on properties that you have seen? Are you confident that they understand what your needs are? Buying a home can be very stressful and a professional agent prevent problems and make your home buying experience a GOOD THING! Van Wig & Associates and Agents have sold over 1,000 homes! Experience matters when it comes to purchasing a home – hire them!

B: Basements: Depending on the the area and if homes in your chosen neighborhood has basements; you should always evaluate the basement of a home to determine whether there may be water or flooding issues. These spaces are often prone to mold. However a finished basement can be an attractive feature that can exponentially increase the size and function of your home.

C. Ceilings: A higher ceiling on the interior of a home will make the space feel larger, and more expansive. However they will also be harder to clean.

D. Dining Rooms: Not every property will have a full room set aside for dining. Some will have a dinette area, and others will require you to eat in the kitchen. If the kitchen is too small then you may not have a place to put a table for gathering and eating at all.

E. Environmental Concerns: Is the property that you are purchasing ecologically friendly? There are a number of large appliances and features that can save energy, generate energy naturally, and keep your comfortable with green practices.

F. Flooring: The type of floors that exist in a space will have a dramatic effect on how it will feel, and how it can be used. Some materials will require constant maintenance, while others may be easy to keep clean.

G. Garage: If you have a car then a garage can be a luxury, as well as a safety element when purchasing a home. Placing your vehicle in an enclosed building will keep it safe from both burglary and the elements.

H. Housing Needs: How many people will be living in this space? You need to match the size and number of rooms to the population of your family in order to ensure you have enough room for everyone. If there are children involved then it will be necessary to decide whether they will have to share a bedroom.

I. Investment Potential: Real estate is not just a place to live, it is also one of the best investments that you can make. However some properties will increase and hold value better than others. Researching the relative value of different homes in the area over time can give you an idea of the potential profit you might stand to make.

J. Justification: You need to make sure that your goals are clear before purchasing a home. This will depend on whether you want to start a family, as well as your projected career path. Only by looking at all of the different aspects of your life can you determine if it is time to purchase a home, and what kind of property it should be.

K. Kitchen: This is often the most important room in the house. It can act as a social center for the entire family, as well as a source of nourishment, and warmth. The features in this space such as refrigerators, ovens, counters, and cabinets can all be quite expensive, and the style of these pieces can effect the price of a home dramatically. If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen then it is important for you to choose one that you feel comfortable, and at ease in.

L. Living Room: This room is also vital as it is the space that will most often bring friends and family together. It is also very visible to guests as it will be the environment where you’ll be most likely to interact with them. That is why it is important for this space to have a relaxed feel that helps promote a sense of social flow.

M. Mortgage: Home’s are generally too expensive to purchase outright, requiring a loan known as a mortgage to be taken out in order to pay for them over time. The monthly payments as well as the interest should be calculated carefully so that you don’t go over budget.

N. Neighborhood: Before you purchase a home it is often useful to spend some time in the neighborhood, getting to know the feel and flow of the environment to ensure that you actually want to live there.

O. Opportunities: Some cities offer more of a specific job then others. That causes many people to move to those locations in order to pursue further employment opportunities.

P. Parking: If the house being purchased is in a crowded neighborhood or city then having a dedicated parking spot can be a vital element to a home.

Q. Quantity: The more rooms you have the more upkeep will be required to maintain the look of the home. At the same time you want to ensure that there is plenty of space for everyone who will be living there to have their own privacy.

R. Return On Investment: If you are purchasing a house as an investment it is always important to look at the key factors that will influence its short-term value. This can involve the popularity of the neighborhood and the quality of the property.

S. Stairs: Older people, or those who have small children, might want to stay away from purchasing homes that have stairs. Those can be dangerous obstacles that may lead to serious accidental injuries.

T. Time: You should know what your long term goals are so that you can pick a house that will fit your needs.

U. Underlayment: During your home inspection, you will have a professional check the padding or material underneath the floor for the possible presence of mold, mildew, or other harmful microorganisms.

V. Viability: Some houses are very private, fenced in and nestled away in neighborhoods. Others are out right on the edge of street corners. This can raise important safety concerns for families.

W. Water: If there are water features nearby such as lakes, rivers, or an ocean, then the home may be prone to flooding.

X. The X Factor: Sometimes you just fall in love with a house. While it is best to let logic rule your decision, you also have to live in this place so you need to at least enjoy it a little on a personal level.

Y. Yard: A yard is great if you have children, or pets, but can be a problem to care for over time.

Z. Zeal: At the end of the day,  you have to be excited about the property. If you find that you’re taking a lackluster approach to the process then you may be looking at the wrong home and opportunity.

These are just a few things to keep in mind when house-hunting … for even more ideas on how to select your perfect home … just give me a call. 562-882-1581