Beyond Curb Appeal

If all the stories about climates changing and the world’s temperatures, you can imagine that someday our grandchildren’s grandchildren will hear stories of how people used to actually *grow* their own grass right in front of their homes just for decoration and enjoyment.

There are some practical reasons to take care of a yard too!

Transit Talks

You don’t have to live in Riverside and work in LA to know that transit is important!  And the Fasttrack can be BRUTAL during rush hour too!  $175.00 to save an hour on the 91 is something….

Here are some numbers about location location transportation.

Centennials: The Next Generation

C.A.R. titled this infographic. I didn’t.  Because I don’t think Centennials are the next generation at all.  I think they’re THIS generation.

Either way, this data gives a good perspective of how they’re thinking.

Community Matters

It should be no surprise that people care more for their home communities than other communities outside their home areas. (Political note here: why do you think they have to BUS in rioters to trash neighborhoods?? Because Don the liquor store owner knows Jane the stationery store owner who knows Sandy who works down at Vons.  None of them want to trash each other’s neighborhood because it’s ALL OF THEIRS!  End of political rant.)

The big news here isn’t that people love their home communities more than other communities.  The news here is that people love their communities!!

Uh, Der!

And the percentages are huge — when somebody has their home in an area, (and these numbers reflect home owners and renters,) they tend to care more for that area, and want to pitch in.  Here are the numbers:

Questions You Should Get Answered Before Using A Particular Agent

It is a truth that someone who CAN do something will rarely outperform someone who DOES do something. That especially applies to anything where a lot of risk, money, energy, heart, and other resource is involved.  As a homebuyer or as someone who wants to sell their home, do your homework, which invariably includes online research.  And after you’ve gotten some of the information together call a professional Realtor®, (Hint: Call Me!) and be prepared to ask some important questions.

  1. The obvious question: What are comparable homes actually selling for in my neighborhood?  Don’t rely on Zillow, or any of the other automated systems, and here’s why: A computer can only spit out what is put into it.  Thankfully, all Realtors® are actually humans, so we can ask a fellow human to give a human answer.  Numbers are numbers, but if a “comparable” house is the only one on the block with a chain link fence and a, “Keep Out Or Else” sign planted in the front yard, or if simply walking along the street in front is enough to smell the pungent odors wafting from inside….well, you get my point.  A Realtor® will be able to address points that a computer algorithm just can’t.
  2. How are the schools in the area?  Even if you don’t have kids, it’s good to know if there were any drug busts, riots, or even a homicide at the local school, isn’t it?  Schools with good ratings and a reputation in the community for having great educators and even better students can be a strong indicator that you’re looking in a good neighborhood for a home.
  3. What is the market trend around here?  Markets in SoCal are different than in East Texas. But markets in the Inland Empire are different than in South Orange County too.  And markets in Riverside east of the 91/60/215 interchange differ from the La Sierra area too.  New starts for construction are one indicator, but not Gospel either.  Trends spread over a few years, not a couple months.  Wouldn’t you rather make a decision based on the movement of a value scale rather than a blip on its radar?
  4. Is the house we’re looking at in an official high risk zone?  Don’t let them answer with, “We’re all in an Earthquake Fault Zone in California,” because that’s not going to fly when an insurance claim is in the balance.  Flood Zones are tricky too because if a builder has moved enough ground to effectively eliminate a flood risk on your street, it can still be in a 100-Year Flood Zone, which gives a Lender the right to require you to buy Flood Insurance.  It doesn’t have to make sense, either.  I sold a home across the street from a City Park.  The home was officially in the Flood Zone, but the City Park wasn’t!  When I contacted FEMA directly, the manager told me that it was probably political because nobody would put a City Park in a Flood Zone!  Yeah.  Check it out first, and you can avoid some expensive surprises like Forced Insurance and other costs like it.
  5. Can you send me information about a specific house? Any Realtor® worth his weight in salt will check out the history of a home — sales history, timeframes of ownership, even any mortgage information available.  There is a lot of data available to a professional who knows where to look, and subscribes to those information services. Hence, the professional Realtor® qualification.  That Realtor® (I volunteer!) can send a prepackaged information dossier on the property that includes market stats, values, any foreclosure history, tax info, schools, crime, census demographics and more. This is wayyy more than the Comparable Sales data that everyone and anyone, including a brand new Real Estate Agent, can obtain.  Note here: I’m not against new agents at all!  You gotta start sometime, right?  But they should have someone with years of experience and millions in sales holding their hand while they’re holding yours.
  6. How many homes have you sold, purchased, or financed for your clients?  Get the Realtor® to tell you about a horror story about that one client from purgatory who felt they deserved everything while risking nothing.  It’s an interview tool that doesn’t necessarily apply to the actual answer, but to the way the answer is given.  If that Realtor® is excited about naming names and locations along with the drama then you can bet your name will come up sometime in the future too.  Rather, look for the, “One time I had a client who XYZ,” because it might be someone they’re still working with, or it may be someone from their past, but just watch for indicators telling you if you want to work with this person or not.  Note: I don’t recommend that you ask for referrals of past clients, and I’ll tell you why.  That person can cherry pick the Brother-in-law and the fellow agent as plants to give references. (Can you tell that I’ve seen that exact thing in my career?) Instead, ask them about a great transaction, and watch their face to see if they’re happy about it.  That could be you in a month too!

There are half a dozen things to ask.  Call me!  I’ve got great answers for you.  If you call somebody else, even someone you know, be sure to ask them these specific questions.  If you’re going to do business with that person, then asking these can help bring their game-level up a couple notches, and that’s really what you want, isn’t it?