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Craig Whitlock

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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 221

Create Your Own Outdoor Kitchen

by Craig Whitlock

An outdoor kitchen sounds like hours of warm-weather culinary fun. But while most of us would love a sleek, state-of-the-art outdoor kitchen, the price tag may not be doable for all. But that doesn’t mean we can’t cook and eat al fresco! Below are 5 tips for a makeshift version.

Grill upgrade. Skip the outdoor oven or stove for a nice grill. To up the versatility of your grill, consider getting a skillet top or griddle. Pancakes, anyone?

Prep space. To make it possible to prepare food in your outdoor kitchen, set up a prep station with an outdoor butcher’s block or table. If you can, place this station near your grill for ease of use.

Consider installing a sink. If you already have a hose hooked up near your outdoor eating area, it may not cost that much to have a sink installed so you can wash up easy. Hire a professional to get a quote.

Add seating. A large outdoor dining table or small cafe table will turn your DIY kitchen into an eat-in space. Looking for a space to hang? A loveseat and a few comfortable chairs will do the trick. Add an umbrella overhead for sunny days.

 Aesthetics matter. To have an outdoor kitchen that looks, well, like an outdoor kitchen, it’s important to tie your aesthetics together. Installing that outdoor butcher’s block? Choose a wood stain that matches your outdoor eating table. Section off the space with potted plants or slate patio floor so the area is clearly defined. String lights overhead for a magical vibe once the sun sets.

Patio Panic: From Frustrating to Fab in One Hour

by Craig Whitlock

Whether it’s an intimate al fresco dinner date or a backyard bash, there’s nothing quite like outdoor entertaining. But if your patio is in sore shape, you might be tempted to relegate guests to the inside. Don’t be intimidated by your patio’s disarray and miss the opportunity to take the party outside. With these quick tips, your outdoor space can be entertainment-worthy in less than an hour.

  1. Task the trimmers. Give the branches, grasses and shrubs surrounding your patio a nice, neat haircut before guests arrive. Not only will this make the area look manicured and orderly, it will make your patio feel more spacious.
  2. Fire up the leaf blower. Who said these wonderful tools are just for leaves? A quick trip around your patio with the leaf blower will remove the trimmings you just cut, along with other dirt and debris, in seconds.
  3. Freshen up the furniture. After you’ve gotten dust and leaves off the furniture with the leaf blower, use a big sponge or mop to wash down your tables and chairs with a quick solution of liquid dish detergent and water, then hose it all down. Flip cushions to the reverse side.
  4. Work some magic. Nothing turns your outdoor space from ordinary to spectacular faster than a little outdoor lighting. Think tiki torches, large candles in hurricane lamps, string lights and solar lanterns.
  5. Finagle some florals. You don’t have to find time to run to the florist. Quickly clip an assortment of flowers, grasses, pine boughs and even bare branches from around your yard to make stunning and natural arrangements. Gather them in mason jars, tin cans (labels peeled off, please) or painted buckets for a homey look, or raise the bar by bringing some of your indoor crystal vases outside.
  6. Rearrange the furniture. Help the flow of the party by strategically placing chairs and tables in spots where you want people to gather. Set up the bar in its own area and place nibbles on a variety of resting spots so everyone doesn’t clutter around one food area. This will not only add visual appeal, but help steer the flow, encourage conversation and show off your patio’s best features. 

For more real estate tips, contact me today.

LA Westside Sales Highlights - May 2017

by Craig Whitlock

This report will provide a quick overview as to how the Westside micro-markets are currently performing and then compares that data to the same period a year ago. 

Sales activity declines across most market segments with the exception of Brentwood which showed a strong bump in SFR sales likely the result of a drop in pricing.  Multiple offers drove pricing up everywhere else and all segments except Bel Air are still deep in Seller’s Market territory.  Great opportunity for homeowners thinking about selling!

The key market indicators are:

Pending Sales Activity - sometimes referred to as the 'Number of Properties Under Contract'. This is a forward-looking indicator of current sales activity where there has been an accepted offer and escrow has opened.

Median Sales Price - that point at which half of the properties have sold for a greater amount and half have sold for a lesser amount. This indicator pinpoints where in the price spectrum homes have sold rather than reflecting home value. There is a common misperception that a drop in the MSP directly indicates a drop in home value. It is far more likely that the drop indicates either smaller, older and/or homes in lower-priced areas have sold during the period.

Months Supply of Inventory (MSI) - a leading indicator of market supply, which directly impacts pricing. Generally, a five to six month supply indicates market equilibrium while anything less signals a 'seller's market' and anything above a 'buyer's market'.

LA Westside Sales Highlights - May 2017 © 2010–2017 10K Research and Marketing®

To view a portfolio of three additional reports trended over the past 12 months: Properties For Sale, Days On Market and New Properties For Sale, visit the Market Sales Data section. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this data at greater length, just drop me a note or give me a call.

Promote Your Home's Pet-Friendly Features When Selling

by Craig Whitlock

One of the many benefits of owning your own home is the freedom to find your ‘furever’ friend. By pointing out the aspects of your home that make it ‘pet-friendly’ in your listing, you’ll attract these buyers rather than alienate the 61% of American households that have a pet!

If you are one of the many homeowners looking to list your home for sale, how do you stand out to the millions of pet parents searching for their dream homes?

Whether a dog person, a cat person, or someone who prefers the company of another pet species, 99% of pet owners say that they consider their animal to be family. When finding a home, 95% of animal owners believe it is important that a housing community allows animals.

A recent study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that there are many aspects of the home buying, selling and owning experience that have been greatly impacted by American’s love for their pets.

This should come as no surprise as $66.75 billion was spent on pets in the U.S in 2016, with $70 billion projected for 2017. NAR’s President William E. Brown shed some light on the impact of pet owners and their home search,

“In 2016, 61 percent of U.S. households either have a pet or plan to get one in the future, so it is important to understand the unique needs and wants of animal owners when it comes to homeownership.  

REALTORS® understand that when someone buys a home, they are buying it with the needs of their whole family in mind; ask pet owners, and they will enthusiastically agree that their animals are part of their family.”

The Power of Pets When Choosing the Right Home

  • 89% of pet owners say they would not give up their pet due to a housing restriction
  • 81% of Americans say their pets play a role in their housing situation
  • 31% of animal owners have refused to put in an offer on a home because it wasn’t a good fit for their animals
  • 19% of Americans say they would consider moving for their pet
  • 12% percent have moved for their pet

New home builders have actually begun installing retractable pet gates that tuck away neatly inside door jams as a highly requested feature in new homes to attract pet-parents, according to Builder.com.

So, if you are a homeowner looking to sell in today’s pet-friendly environment, point out the features of your home that will attract pet owners:

  • Fully fenced in backyard – (91% of pet owners ranked this as the most important feature of a home to accommodate their pet)
  • Locations of dog parks/walking paths/pet-friendly beaches in the area (71% ranked this as the top feature of any neighborhood they would consider)
  • Proximity to veterinarians/groomers/pet supply stores (31%)

LA Westside Sales Highlights - April 2017

by Craig Whitlock

This report will provide a quick overview as to how the Westside micro-markets are currently performing and then compares that data to the same period a year ago. 

The key market indicators are:

Pending Sales Activity - sometimes referred to as the 'Number of Properties Under Contract'. This is a forward-looking indicator of current sales activity where there has been an accepted offer and escrow has opened.

Median Sales Price - that point at which half of the properties have sold for a greater amount and half have sold for a lesser amount. This indicator pinpoints where in the price spectrum homes have sold rather than reflecting home value. There is a common misperception that a drop in the MSP directly indicates a drop in home value. It is far more likely that the drop indicates either smaller, older and/or homes in lower-priced areas have sold during the period.

Months Supply of Inventory (MSI) - a leading indicator of market supply, which directly impacts pricing. Generally, a five to six month supply indicates market equilibrium while anything less signals a 'seller's market' and anything above a 'buyer's market'.

LA Westside Sales Highlights - April 2017 © 2010–2017 10K Research and Marketing®

To view a portfolio of three additional reports trended over the past 12 months: Properties For Sale, Days On Market and New Properties For Sale, visit the Market Sales Data section. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this data at greater length, just drop me a note or give me a call.

Slaying Home Buying Myths

by Craig Whitlock

Check out this infographic which shows that home buyers don't need as much of a downpayment as they seem to believe!

Slaying Home Buying Myths [INFOGRAPHIC] | Simplifying the Market

LA Westside Sales Highlights - March 2017

by Craig Whitlock

This report will provide a quick overview as to how the Westside micro-markets are currently performing and then compares that data to the same period a year ago. 

The key market indicators are:

Pending Sales Activity - sometimes referred to as the 'Number of Properties Under Contract'. This is a forward-looking indicator of current sales activity where there has been an accepted offer and escrow has opened.

Median Sales Price - that point at which half of the properties have sold for a greater amount and half have sold for a lesser amount. This indicator pinpoints where in the price spectrum homes have sold rather than reflecting home value. There is a common misperception that a drop in the MSP directly indicates a drop in home value. It is far more likely that the drop indicates either smaller, older and/or homes in lower-priced areas have sold during the period.

Months Supply of Inventory (MSI) - a leading indicator of market supply, which directly impacts pricing. Generally, a five to six month supply indicates market equilibrium while anything less signals a 'seller's market' and anything above a 'buyer's market'.

LA Westside Sales Highlights - March 2017 © 2010–2017 10K Research and Marketing®

To view a portfolio of three additional reports trended over the past 12 months: Properties For Sale, Days On Market and New Properties For Sale, visit the Market Sales Data section. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this data at greater length, just drop me a note or give me a call.

Should I Downsize Now?

by Craig Whitlock

A study by Edelman Berland reveals that 33% of homeowners who are contemplating selling their houses in the near future are planning to scale down. Let’s look at a few reasons why this might make sense for many homeowners, as the majority of the country is currently experiencing a seller’s market.

In a blog, Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, highlighted the advantages of selling your current house and downsizing into a smaller home that better serves your current needs. Ramsey explains three potential financial advantages to downsizing:

  1. A smaller home means less space, but it also means less time, stress and money spent on upkeep.
  2. Let’s assume you save $500 a month on your mortgage payment. In 30 years, you could have an additional $1–1.6 million in the bank to get you through your golden years.
  3. Use the proceeds from selling your current home to pay cash for a smaller one. Just imagine what you could do with no mortgage holding you down! If you can’t pay cash, aim for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage and put at least 10–20% down on your new home. Apply the $500 you saved from downsizing to your new monthly payment. At 3% interest, you could pay off a $200,000 mortgage in less than 10.5 years, saving almost $16,000 in the process.

Realtor.com also addressed downsizing in an article. They suggest that you ask yourself some questions before deciding if downsizing is right for you and your family. Here are two of their questions followed by their answers (in italics) and some additional information that could help.

Q: What kind of lifestyle do I want after I downsize?

A: “For some folks, it’s a matter of living a simpler life focused on family. Some might want to cross off travel destinations on their bucket lists. Some might want a low-maintenance community with high-end upgrades and social events. Decide what you want to achieve from your move first, and you’ll be able to better narrow down your housing options.”

Comments: Many homeowners are taking the profits from the sales of their current homes and splitting it in order to put down payments on smaller homes in their current locations, as well as on vacation/retirement homes where they plan to live when they retire.

This allows them to lock in the home price and mortgage interest rate at today’s values which makes sense financially as both home prices and interest rates are projected to rise.

Q: Have I built up enough equity in my current home to make a profit?

A: “For most homeowners, the answer is yes. This is if they’ve held on to their properties long enough to have positive equity that will be sizable enough to put a large down payment on their next home.”

Comments: A study by Fannie Mae revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have significant equity (> 20%) in their current home. In actuality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 78.9% have greater than 20% equity. That equity could enable you to build the life you’ve always dreamt about.

Bottom Line

If you are debating downsizing your home and want to evaluate the options you currently have, let's meet up to help guide you through the process.

 

LA Westside Sales Highlights - February 2017

by Craig Whitlock

This report will provide a quick overview as to how the Westside micro-markets are currently performing and then compares that data to the same period a year ago. 

The key market indicators are:

Pending Sales Activity - sometimes referred to as the 'Number of Properties Under Contract'. This is a forward-looking indicator of current sales activity where there has been an accepted offer and escrow has opened.

Median Sales Price - that point at which half of the properties have sold for a greater amount and half have sold for a lesser amount. This indicator pinpoints where in the price spectrum homes have sold rather than reflecting home value. There is a common misperception that a drop in the MSP directly indicates a drop in home value. It is far more likely that the drop indicates either smaller, older and/or homes in lower-priced areas have sold during the period.

Months Supply of Inventory (MSI) - a leading indicator of market supply, which directly impacts pricing. Generally, a five to six month supply indicates market equilibrium while anything less signals a 'seller's market' and anything above a 'buyer's market'.

LA Westside Sales Highlights - February 2017 © 2010–2017 10K Research and Marketing®

To view a portfolio of three additional reports trended over the past 12 months: Properties For Sale, Days On Market and New Properties For Sale, visit the Market Sales Data section. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this data at greater length, just drop me a note or give me a call.

Property Profiles Versus Preliminary Title Reports

by Craig Whitlock

There are several steps in the process of purchasing real estate. Reviewing property profile reports and preliminary title reports is an important and necessary step, and it’s important to know the differences between the two products.
 
Property Profile
 
What is a Property Profile?
A Property Profile report is a snapshot of the financial and ownership status of a property generated by customer service.  It can help determine:

  • The owner of the property
  • The loans and liens that may exist on the property

What is the benefit of a Property Profile in a real estate transaction?
Property Profiles are the quickest method of obtaining a cursory view of the property in question. Information is quick, but not vetted.
 
A Property Profile package typically consists of the following information:

  • Comparable market analysis
  • Vesting deed/current owner
  • Open deeds of trust/mortgages
  • Plat map of the property
  • Tax status for current year
  • HOA liens
  • City liens
  • Solar agreements *
  • UCC financing statement *
  • Any other document recorded on the property *

* When specifically requested.
 
Preliminary Title Report
 
What is a Preliminary Title Report (PR)?
A Preliminary Title Report is an offer to issue insurance. It’s a starting point for the title company to eventually issue a policy of insurance. It shows the full ownership of a specific parcel of land, with the liens and encumbrances thereon, together with recorded matters that will be excepted from the policy of insurance if not addressed and removed before escrow closes. Significant time, energy and resources go into producing a PR.
 
What role does a Preliminary Title Report play in the real estate process?
A Preliminary Title Report lists the conditions under which the title company will issue a particular type of title insurance policy. It shows if anyone, other than the seller, has a legal claim on the property.
 
The PR may be reviewed and discussed by the parties to the real estate transaction, providing the opportunity to seek the removal of items referenced in the report which are objectionable to the buyer prior to the transfer of title.
 
The Preliminary Report is not a written historical representation as to the condition of title and may not list all liens, defects, and encumbrances affecting title to the land, it merely reports the current ownership and matters that the title company will exclude from coverage if a title insurance policy should later be issued.
 
A Preliminary Title Report identifies the following:

  • Title defects, liens of record or encumbrances that must be satisfied prior to issuing a title insurance policy
  • Legal and equitable ownership
  • Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) or recorded restrictions which have been placed in a prior deed or contained in recorded documents
  • Detailed easement information
  • Thorough real property tax information
  • Status of the property
  • Possible lien items that need to be cleared prior to the close of escrow

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 221

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Craig Whitlock
COLDWELL BANKER BRENTWOOD
11661 San Vicente Blvd., 10th Floor
Los Angeles CA 90049
Mobile: (310) 488-4399
Fax: (310) 820-1457

Broker/Agent does not guarantee the accuracy of the square footage, lot size or other information concerning the conditions or features of properties provided by the seller or obtained from Public Records or other sources as presented in this website.  Interested parties are advised to independently verify the accuracy of all information through personal inspection and with appropriate professionals.  Information herein deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

CalBRE LIC 01827537