In the real estate market, a home’s price is everything. Price it too high, and you’ll miss out on buyers, but price it too low, and you might cheat yourself out of valuable profits.
A real estate agent will help you determine where to set the price for selling your home, but having your own instincts is important, too. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you’re making this important decision:
Price for Website Searches
As with every other aspect of our lives these days, most home searches begin online. That comes with its own set of quirks, particularly around the way that prices are categorized on real estate website search engines.
Search results are often grouped in $10,000 or $20,000 increments. So, if you list your home at $205,000, you’re going to miss everyone looking in the $200,000 and under range. By changing the price to $199,000, you’re not losing much profit and gaining more potential buyers in return.
Review Comparable Sales
Again, the Internet makes this pretty easy to do. You can easily see what other homes on your street and in your neighborhood sold for, how long they were on the market, and whether any price reductions were needed to close the deal.
Use this comparable sale information as a starting point, but don’t feel beholden to it. Keep in mind that the market is always changing and you may need to adopt a different pricing strategy depending on where things are in your local market.
Think Like a Buyer
If you had to buy your home over again, how much would you pay for it? This might like a strange question, but it can help you get to the bottom of what prospective buyers might be thinking.
As a seller, you’ll always want to set the price as high as possible so you can get the biggest return on your investment. This might not always be the best idea, and thinking like a buyer can help you see when that’s happening by offering a different perspective.
Whether you’re new in town or have never taken the time to truly explore the Westside of Los Angeles, there are some must-do activities that can help you get to know your part of the city.
The Westside has its own communities, vibe and opportunities, with a little something to offer everyone. Here are 10 recommended things to do in your first 30 days living on the Westside of Los Angeles:
First Friday on Abbott Kinney. On the first Friday of every month, the art galleries, boutiques and shops along Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice stay open late to promote neighborhood merchants. But it’s as much about the people-watching and huge collection of food trucks as anything else.
Visit Catalina Island. Take the Catalina Express – there are more than 20 trips per day – from the ports in Long Beach for a day or weekend trip. Explore the shops and restaurants, or enjoy the amazing views with snorkeling or hiking.
The Getty Center. The most iconic museum in all of Los Angeles offers amazing views and wonderful architecture that rivals the art on display inside the walls. Bring a camera and plan on staying a full afternoon.
The Santa Monica Pier. One of the most popular destinations for tourists is still a worthwhile visit on a sunny afternoon. It is a great place for people-watching or to bring the kids, plus you can wander to nearby shopping and restaurants – including the Santa Monica Promenade – when you’re done.
Venture to Venice Beach. While it’s becoming more mainstream, the eclectic and sometimes kooky scene along Venice beach offers plenty of people-watching, from street performers to skateboarders and body builders, and plenty of opportunities for food and drinks.
Beach Cruise in South Bay. Grab a beach cruiser – there are plenty to rent if you have to – and cruise up and down the Marvin Braude Bike Path (known as The Strand in South Bay) to enjoy the spectacular beach front scenery. The path stretches 22 miles in all, and there are plenty of places to stop for food or drinks when you’re in the mood.
South Bay Farmer’s Markets. The South Bay communities produce farmer’s markets six days out of the week, offering amazing selections of fresh produce, flowers and hot eats to dazzle your senses.
Find Abalone Cove Shoreline Park. This amazing hidden world in Palos Verdes displays Southern California in all of its splendor, from the ocean views along the bluffs to the amazing marine life in the tide pools at low tide.
Hike to Eagle Rock in Topanga State Park. There are many hiking options on the Westside to choose from for those of all skill levels. The 1,957-foot summit at Eagle Rock offers rare serenity and views of the entire Westside.
What is your favorite weekend activity on the Westside? Check out these 10 ideas.
What is the one place you have yet to visit on the Westside of LA? See if it made this list.
What would you recommend as a must-do activity for a new Westside resident? See ideas here.
The decision to remodel your home is not one that should be made lightly. It’s a big investment of time and money, and like any investment, should be made with full knowledge of the risks and rewards associated with it.
Set Your Goals
Before you can start thinking about how much to spend on a home renovation, you need to determine what you are hoping to achieve with the project. Are you preparing to put your home on the market? Create a more comfortable space for your family? Something else entirely?
The answers to those questions will help you determine how extensive the renovation will be and how much you want to spend. The answers will provide a baseline for you to measure success when the remodel is finished.
Armed with your goals, it’s time to set specifics and attach costs to them. This includes ballpark costs on materials and labor.
It’s important to go into this process with an open mind so you can be realistic about the numbers. For example, you might go into the project thinking that you want granite countertops, but end up considering other options after you do some homework on the costs.
No cost should be left uncovered in this part of the process. You need to know exactly what you are paying for now; otherwise, you will run into unexpected costs later in the project once the renovation is underway.
Consider Financing Options
Once you have your goals and costs, the last step in setting your home renovation budget is figuring out how to pay for the project.
If you do not have the funds on hand for the project, you’ll need to consider some type of loan. You can refinance your home, take a home equity line of credit, or opt for another borrowing solution in consultation with your bank.
The option you choose will depend on what your budget is and what the rest of your financial picture looks like. Your bank can also advise you on whether your home renovation budget is correct given your home’s value and the rest of your assets.
Whether you’re trying to save money, help the environment, or both, a little energy saving is never a bad thing. Thanks to advances in technology and a trend toward sustainable home design, saving energy around the house has never been easier. Here are a few ways you can save energy!
These days, remote-controlled thermostats and other programs allow you to control your home’s temperature, light usage, and other elements no matter where you are in the world.
No more leaving lights on unnecessarily or setting the thermostat to a certain temperature while you are away; apps like Nest and August can save energy around your home while also allowing you to customize your home’s temperature to match your preferences.
While there is some upfront cost involved with investing in this technology, it will definitely pay for itself in then as you begin to save money on your electricity and heating bills over time.
Fill Your Refrigerator and Freezer
This seems counterintuitive, but your refrigerator and freezer actually run more efficiently when they are full. Food and other items act as insulation to keep the entire space cold, which means less time that the appliance has to run.
Look at this as an opportunity to buy in bulk if you can and save a little money on your grocery bill, too. If that’s not an option for you, don’t go out and buy unneeded items just to save space. Instead, add bags of ice to the freezer or containers of water to the fridge to take up the extra room.
Upgrade Your Appliances
This is another upfront investment, but one that’s well worth it in the end. Just about every type of major home appliance now comes in Energy Star certified models. These appliances reduce your home’s ecological footprint by using less energy and running more efficiently. Look for the Energy Star label on the appliance to make sure you are getting the real deal!
Whether it’s a natural disaster or a man-made one like a fire, there are many ways that your life — and your home — can change in an instant. Every disaster requires a unique response plan, but there are several general things you can do to make sure your home is prepared for whatever comes your way.
Organize, Organize, Organize
If you’ve lived through any type of disaster, you know that it’s a confusing, chaotic experience. The last thing you want in that situation is to be scrambling around the house trying to find something that you need or tripping over clutter while you are trying to evacuate.
Whenever possible, try to make sure that there are clear paths to the exits in your home. It might not seem like a big deal, but those extra few seconds that it takes to move something out of the way can make a huge difference in a disaster scenario.
Beyond that, have a “go” bag of disaster-prep supplies together in one place that you can quickly get to when you need it. This should include food, water, a first aid kit, batteries, cell phone chargers, and any other items you’ll need if you are forced to evacuate.
Create a Plan of Action
Once you have your home organized and your supplies ready, it’s time to make a plan for how your family will react when disaster strikes. Again, these situations are often chaotic so having a plan ready will allow everyone to go on autopilot rather than panicking.
Set a designated meeting place or places that everyone can agree on and easily get to. Make a list of people to contact and designed who will be responsible for doing so. The Department of Homeland Security’s Ready program has a list of plans available for just about any type of disaster you can imagine.