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LA Digs - Northeast LA Real Estate Blog

Welcome to LA Digs, the real estate and Northeast Los Angeles community blog written by Realtors Tracy King and Keely Myres.

Here, we share tips, market updates, and local news bits to keep you informed on what's happening in Northeast Los Angeles and the surrounding neighborhoods. Read on to learn about the latest in your neighborhood!

Increase Your Home’s Value Up to 28% with These 5 Tips

Increase Your Home’s Value Up to 28% with These 5 Tips

In Northeast LA, "curb appeal" isn't just about having a great looking home. It's about improving home value.

With homes in Highland Park selling briskly, and Glassell Park real estate in high demand, home sellers in Northeast Los Angeles neighborhoods are thinking about small ways to make a large difference in the value of their homes. They are finding that fixing up one's home to improve the "curb appeal" is a step in the right direction.

Great curb appeal not only makes your home the star of the neighborhood, it can also improve its value and help you sell it for more. Whether you’re thinking of listing your home or just want to make your home the envy of your neighbors, here are several ways to increase your home’s curb appeal.

1. Make your home’s exterior look like new.

For many potential buyers, the condition of the exterior of a home can offer clues to the condition of the interior. The first place to start when boosting curb appeal is the exterior of your house.

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Why Do We Buy Homes?

Everyone has been so concerned with the real estate market’s ups and downs, gain or loss in value, future prospects, that we have lost sight of the point of it all: Home.
Why do people buy homes? Here is a list of all the reasons I could think of quickly. How many apply to you?
  • To have one to live in, for the most part.
  • To define a space that is an expression of ourselves, our creativity, our artistic vision.
  • To be safe.
  • To be comfortable.
  • To provide shelter for ourselves and our families.
  • To be a personal retreat from a hectic world.
  • To be a meeting place for friends and family.
  • To be a symbol of our success.
  • To represent a stake in the community.
  • To be a tax write-off.
  • To be an investment.
  • To be a do-it-yourself project all our own.
Today, mortgage interest rates are at a 60-year low (!), prices are the lowest they’ve been in 5 to 10 years, and we are now seeing real (though tiny) signs that we are inching into recovery. The smart people are stepping forward and getting some great deals, not only on distress sales, but good regular houses.
Here’s my thought: even the properties that seem to be selling at a premium are deals today. If you look at what happened in the 90s and what people paid for homes in, say, 1995, today they look like incredible bargains. Even what people paid in 2000 was dirt cheap compared to now.Sometimes things don’t work out the way we want or expect them to. We move before we think we will because of work or divorce or some other necessity. But even if you have to move before your home becomes a profit center, you will have had the enjoyment of your own space. If you take a long view of owning homes and you focus on what you have put into living in them, the good times you have spent, the lessons you have learned, you may find that the returns have been much more than monetary. After all, do you only do the things in life that make you money? Do you only assess your success in life by the profits you have made? Or do love, comfort, joy and beauty enter into it?
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Ask Tracy: is staging a good idea?

Q. Do you think staging a home for sale works?

A. Let me answer this question with a little case study.

Highland Park (90042 zip) is undergoing an interesting renaissance. This area lost about 50% of the average price value in the 2 years from the peak to its valley, between 2007 and 2009. When prices dropped that low, a number of investors began buying properties, fixing them up and re-selling them.

I sold a small 2-bedroom 1-bath fixer in Mt. Angelus last year for $235,000. The investor did a huge amount of work including a reworked foundation, listed it for $429,000 and it sold for $455,000 in March of this year.

Even the fixed-up price seems pretty reasonable compared to hip areas like Silverlake and Los Feliz, and so the re-birth has begun. Companies like Better Shelter are going in and doing quality flips. They install good quality systems, artful paint schemes, nice finishes—and then they go all out and stage them even at the lower priced level. It pays off, too. The house at 4955 Meridian was listed for $499,000 and sold for $540,000 earlier in the spring.

Does staging make a difference in the ultimate sales price? It’s hard to say. The flip done from the one I sold last year wasn’t staged, but the one on Meridian was.  It seems to be trendy in Highland Park to stage homes these days. There was a property on Lincoln listed for $399,000 and designed by Native Homes LA that was staged and went into escrow within 3 weeks of listing. My listing on Range View (also listed for $399,000) was staged and went into escrow after just 2 weeks. The key to how staging works is that it makes the property look really attractive and in top condition.  It also helps prospective buyers imagine how their own furniture might work in the house  such as where the television might go, or if a breakfast table and chairs would fit in that corner. It can be difficult for a buyer to figure out a completely blank canvas especially if the floorplan is less than ideal.

Price is just as important, however. If any of these homes had been priced too high, the staging wouldn’t have helped. When you see properties selling for over asking, you know that more than one buyer thought enough of the home to bid on it.

Location is the last piece of the value puzzle.  Here is where the condition and the price are essential. There is a property in a very less-than-desirable part of Highland Park near the freeway that looked adorable in the photos and was priced well for the rest of Highland Park, though not really that inexpensive for that particular area. It went into escrow 11 days after it was listed.

So what’s the answer to the staging question? Some sellers feel that if it’s priced under $500,000, it doesn’t need staging because the low price will sell itself. Others stage any priced home. While it costs money to hire a stager, the money is probably justified by selling the house quicker, possibly with more offers, maybe pushing the price up a bit. If you have a property that has an odd floorplan or is vacant, you may want to consider some staging. If you want tiptop dollar, you probably want to do everything you can to get it. Don’t you?
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Tracy King, Realtor
DRE# 01048877
Phone: 323-274-2148 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
COMPASS DRE# 01991628

Keely Myres, Realtor
DRE# 01834633
Phone: 323-274-2148 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
COMPASS DRE# 01991628

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