Congratulations to the Rubergs!

Congratulations to the Ruberg Family – this fun-loving family of four (daughters not pictured) recently closed on their first home!

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We have such a great time getting to know the families that we work with! Each family dynamic is unique and we really appreciated how well the Rubergs work together as a team and their ability to take some stressful moments and be able to laugh at it with their fun sense of humor.

(We were also impressed with their two adorable daughters!)

The Rubergs started their journey a bit unsure of exactly what area they wanted to live in, but were dedicated to the process and soon zeroed in on their ideal neighborhood. They ended up with a bit of a compromise: they purchased a home that needs a little work, but is in their dream location. These first time home-buyers impressed us with their ability to look at the long-term picture and with their willingness to confront every concern head-on!

As issues arose with their home inspection, they met each stressful situation with an optimistic attitude. Rather than becoming exasperated with the challenges, the Ruhbergs communicated directly with the city permit department and are now well-versed in the requirements for the work they intend to do. They took all the necessary steps to make sure they knew exactly what they were buying, and what it would take to make it exactly how they want it!

Fun-loving clients that are also logical and dedicated are our most favorite kind. We are so thankful that we were along for the Rubergs’ home-buying journey and look forward to watching them create their family’s dream home!

 

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Living in a Landmark

 

The Redondo Beach City’s Preservation Program, encourages property owners of historically significant structures to voluntarily apply for local landmark status. Currently, 35 individual properties and 16 properties located in North and South Redondo have been designated as local historic landmarks!

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The Brandt House – 426 N. Gertruda Ave.

 

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The Shinn House – 324 N. Gertruda Ave.

Check out the full address list and photos of all the designated RB historic landmarks!

If you are interested in purchasing a historic home, be sure you know what you are getting yourself into. This article from Realtor.com highlights both the pros and cons of living in a landmark.

Joe & Taryn: Home For The Holidays!!

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, we are excited to announce that our clients Joe and Taryn will be home for the holidays! We were functioning on a strict time-line, but were able to help these newly-weds find a home they both loved in under a month!

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These two were dream clients and are the perfect example that finding a home can be done fairly quickly if you follow our home-finding process. Immediately after meeting with us for a buyer’s consultation, they completed their “driving homework”and were able to identify exactly which neighborhoods they did and didn’t like. Simple steps such as this help us to eliminate homes from the get-go and ultimately save a lot of time when it comes to finding ideal homes for our buyers!

 

Joe and Taryn decided to make an offer on a new construction home, which is a different process from purchasing a standard resale home. Knowing this, they were extremely thorough in reviewing the 100-pg purchase contract (much more intricate that the standard RPA!) and we were happy to discuss all of their concerns! They brought a lot of great questions to the table, but in the end they felt comfortable with moving forward and knew the source of every fee and cost!

We are thrilled that we got the chance to assist Joe and Taryn in this huge life step! They made our jobs easy by not only following our advice, but also by communicating clearly and giving us regular feedback. They remained involved and attentive throughout the entire process – there is nothing Realtors like more than responsive clients!

Our recent transaction with Joe and Taryn reminded us of the difficulties that could arise with new construction and we are happy we could be there to help smooth out the kinks and negotiate on their behalf. This article by NOLO provides an extensive pro-con list when it comes to purchasing new construction, but here are few Weber Accetta Certified tips for purchasing new construction homes:

  1. Get an inspection! Although no one has formally resided in the home, new homes have problems too. We recommend hiring an inspector to make sure everything is safe and up to code – for peace of mind and to protect you from future headaches!
  2. Check future plans! This is especially important if the home you are purchasing is in an underdeveloped area. Be sure to check with the city to see what is planned for the surrounding area and/or neighborhoods.
  3. Hire your own agent! Often-times model homes will be staffed with an agent who has a relationship with the builder, so it is important to hire an uninvolved agent that has your best interest in mind.
  4. Get pre-approved! It is still essential to have your finances in order and to get pre-approved by a bank or mortgage lender. This helps prove your validity as a buyer during the negotiation process and helps ensure that escrow moves smoothly and closes on time!

If you are in search of a NEW home for the holidays, consider letting the Weber Accetta Group work alongside you and help expedite the process! Shoot us an email or give us a call anytime of day to help discuss your needs!


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Lauren@WeberAccetta.com

310.387.4693



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Michelle@WeberAccetta.com

  310.293.1883

 

 


 

How To Rock Your Request For Repairs

A typical Residential Purchase Agreement contains an inspection contingency that allows for the buyer to inspect the property, review the reports and present a request for repairs to the seller. If the buyer is unsatisfied with the agreed upon repair list he or she can choose to cancel the deal and have their deposit returned. A request for repairs may ask for a detailed list of work to be done and/or a credit amount to cover the cost of the repairs.

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While some buyers feel that opting to waive the inspection contingency will give them a better at getting their offer accepted, we always advise buyers to opt to have the property inspected. While general home inspections cost several hundred dollars and are paid by the buyer, they could save the buyer a large amount of money in the long run. It also helps to educate you on the overall condition of your home and the condition of its systems.

Your home inspection will inevitably point out some problems with the property – no matter if it is brand new or 25 years old. Your home inspector will check that the main appliances and main systems (plumbing, heating, electrical, etc) are safe and operational. They will also check to see if there are any health and safety issues that might be a problem with the specific property. Pending the results, the general inspector will recommend additional inspections from a specialist (such as a roofing or foundation expert) and/or a list of necessary repairs. Most home inspectors have years of experience and should be able to identify what is problematic and needs to be addressed immediately, as well as what will need maintenance in the near future.

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At this point, you will need to generate a list of requested repairs or credits to present to the seller. This part of the escrow process requires negotiation and strong communication between both the agents and their respective parties. Thus, when deciding what issues or problems to put on your list it is helpful to consider how the seller might react – while you may feel that you are entitled to put everything the inspector recommends replacing, this is a key example of “picking your battles”. You may an extensive list, but it is best to get the list down to the most crucial items and be willing to let the minor things go.

Generally, it is a good idea to stick to health and safety items, as well as any damage that could adversely affect the structural integrity of the home over time. A few items of real concern are: cracks in the chimney, foundation cracks or a damaged roof.

As a buyer, you should be absolutely be persistent on ensuring that your future home is up to par, but you should prepared to take on some of the responsibility of the repairs. After all, you do not want to the deal to fall apart or get drawn out because you cannot come to an agreement as to which party will fix a few cracked floor tiles.

The best way to ensure that you get the most from the seller is to present estimates of the actual cost from contractors. While this may require more effort on your end, doing this gives the seller concrete proof of the price work that needs to be done and gives them little wiggle room.

Another thing to keep in mind when crafting your request list is the sale price of the home. If you were able to secure the home way below asking price, you should consider being a bit more lenient on your list. If you paid full price, you will have more wiggle room to include more requests, but remember that it is very rare to have the seller agree to all the requests right off the bat.

Most importantly, lean heavily on your agent during this whole experience! Remember, we are negotiation specialists and have gone through this process many times. We know the importance of being flexible, but also when to stick to our guns and fight for our clients and their wants. In the end, our job is to ensure that you get the best deal and that you feel 100% confident moving forward with closing on your new home!

HOAs .. & YOU!

When you purchase a townhouse, condo or any property within a planned development, you are required to join that development’s homeowners’ associations (HOA) which includes paying a monthly or annual HOA fee.

Generally, the HOA is in charge of the upkeep of common areas, landscaping and the buildings themselves.  Each HOA is unique however, and the responsibilities (and fee amount) of each varies based on the development and the amenities that it has. A more upscale complex may include a wide range of facilities such as swimming pools, clubhouses, fitness rooms, security gates and tennis courts.

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Also, beyond keeping the grounds in good condition, an HOA also sets the “code of rules” that governs life within a development. This set of rules must be followed by all residents and is known as the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions & restrictions). CC&Rs may dictate a variety of things: from the types of vehicles that may be parked on the street to fence height restrictions to the color of your window frames. If you, as a homeowner, decide to break one of these rules, you must appeal to the HOA to grant you a variance.  While CC&Rs are a great way to keep a neighborhood consistent, they could pontially limit your creative juices when it comes to decorating your home!

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An HOA is beneficial, because it ensures that all residents are equally responsible for maintaining the condition of their community. This helps to guarantee a high quality of life, while also preserving property values for the units within the development.

However, HOA fees do tack on an additional cost when it comes to owning a home and it is essential to factor that cost into your price of living. Average HOA fees are generally around $400 a month, but could run less or more based on the amount of amenities.

Another responsibility of a homeowner’s association is plan for the long-term well being of the community. That means looking ahead to larger scale repairs and improvements that will need to be made in the future. Each HOA holds a reserve fund, which is kept to pay for these long term projects, as well as any emergencies that may arise. However, if the reserve fund is inadequate, the association may require all occupants to pay a “special assessment” in order to supply the necessary funds. Special assessments may occur at any time.. meaning another unexpected cost for development residents.

HOAs are either professionally managed or are run by residents within the development. There are pros and cons to both scenarios, so we recommend getting in touch with the HOA prior to joining the development. It is a good idea to get a feel for the way that the development is run and to evaluate who is making the decisions that will affect your daily life. You can also find out specifics about that exact homeowner’s association.

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Some good questions to ask:

                                          – What services are covered by your HOA dues?

– Are there any services for which you have to pay extra?

– How often do fee increases occur, and by what percentage?

– Are any special assessments planned for the immediate future?

As a homeowner (especially one paying HOA fees) it is always better to be over educated, than under educated. Stay involved in your community, be aware of the CC&Rs and take full advantage of the perks of having a homeowner’s association!

STOP in the name of Low Mortgage Rates

Seriously, stop what you are doing.

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BECAUSE, low mortgage rates = amazing opportunities for buyers, sellers, or homeowners looking to refinance!

While rates on mortgages change daily, they are currently holding steady at near record lows. In fact, according to the Bankrate.com rates have not been this low since December 2012!  The graphic below demonstrates the drop in rates from just last week.

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Both 15-year and 30-year mortgage rates are down more than 0.5% since the start of the year.

What does this mean for buyers?

This drop in rates means that those looking to buy have experienced a purchase power increase of 7%…meaning that buyers who could afford an $800,000 home in December can now afford an $852,000 home!  For many on the house-hunt, this increase in purchase power could put their dream home just in reach!

What does this mean for sellers?

Lower mortgage rates translate to a surplus of buyers looking to take advantage of their higher purchasing power; which means you, as a seller, have the ability to get top dollar for your home! More active buyers are out looking increases the desirability of your home.. making it a hot commodity.

What does this mean for refinancers?

Refinancing gives a homeowner access to a new mortgage loan which replaces the existing one. The details of the new loan’s mortgage rate, loan length in years, and amount borrowed can customized by the homeowner. Thus, refinancing during a period of lower mortgage rates could benefit borrowers by lowering their monthly housing payments and/or shortening the term of their mortgage.

For a personalized rate, check out this helpful site: http://themortgagereports.com/ratequote/

Remember: Mortgage rates change quickly and there is no guarantee that these rates will last. Whether you are a seller or a buyer, it is time to take advantage of the current market!

Probate Sales: Knowing the Perks & Risks

If you are an active real estate buyer, or even just a curious browser, you have undoubtedly encountered a probate sale. While a probate sale generally means that the cost of the property is lower it can also mean a trickier and longer process than a normal sale. As such, it is necessary to familiarize one’s self with the system and to know what to expect.

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Overview of  Probate Sales:

A probate sale is used when a homeowner dies without leaving a will or without directly bequeathing the property to someone. Essentially, the state takes over and oversees the sale of the home.

While probate sales generally mean lower prices, it is important to note that there is a minimum value that must be met: the property must sell for at least 90% of its appraised value. Further, the court ensures that the home has been properly listed, marketed and appraised to guarantee that it is sold at a fair market price.

When it comes to making an offer, a 10% percent deposit is generally required. (This is due to the Court requirement of 10% at the confirmation hearing.) Similar to a normal sale, the representative of the estate will then review the offer and accept or counter it.

However, unlike a normal sale, acceptance does not mean the immediate opening of escrow. The offer is still subject to the court’s confirmation and it’s acceptance does not fully commit the seller to the buyer. It is not until after all contingencies are removed that the court may be petitioned to confirm the sale.

After confirmation from the court, the attorney must post a Notice of Sale -an ad stating their intention to sell the home and calling for anyone who thinks they are a beneficiary to come forward. In California, the law requires that a Notice of Sale is published in a newspaper from the same county as the property. The ad must run three times at least 10 days before the sale. 

After the notice has been run and no beneficiary has turned up, a court date is requested. The court date could be set immediately or several months out…Then starts the waiting game.

During this waiting period, notice of the sale as the date and location of the hearing must be marketed.

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When the court date arrives, the listing agent, plus any other interested party, is required to attend. At the court proceeding the property is subject to an overbid scenario wherein another buyer can come in and purchase the property contingency free on the spot. According to California real estate law, the minimum overbid amount must be 10% over the price that was accepted initially. Anyone wishing to bid, is required to bring a cashier’s check, made out to the Estate, for this amount.

If there are no bidders, the original contract is confirmed and the buyer gets the property for their original contract price.


As you can see, probate sales are not a cut and dry deal. They can turn into long drawn out affairs that can result in you spending a lot of time and resources just to have your offer outbid at the court hearing (worst case scenario!). However, working with an experienced and knowledge agent can help increase your chances of securing a home at a lower price (best case scenario!)

A probate sale can be a savvy way to secure an investment property or even a new family home. Just be prepared to patient and make sure that you have housing arrangements in the meantime!


Note: One of the main risks when it comes to probate sales is the limited disclosures requirement. In most cases the owner is deceased (it is also possible that he or she is incapacitated) and the court-appointed representative has never lived in the home, meaning that there may limited insight into the condition of the home and it’s systems. Therefore, it is essential that the buyer fully investigates the property and has the home inspected. It is also a good idea to check the public record.

*As a homeowner, make sure that you have a will clearly naming your beneficiaries to avoid the stress of you home entering the probate sale process*

 

Rent-Back Agreements and How They Work

One qualm that often holds homeowners back from selling their current property and moving into their dream home is that they will sell their home before securing a new one. Considering Southern California’s hot real estate market and how quickly homes are being sold, we recognize that this is a valid concern.  Buying a home is a huge decision.. and not one that anyone wants to make under the pressure of becoming homeless!

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However, several options exist to help ensure a smooth transition period  for both buyers and sellers. One alternative that we have found to be mutually beneficial for both parties is the rent-back agreement – this essentially allows the sellers extended time in the home by making them the new owner’s tenants after escrow closes. While this agreement comes with a time limit designated by the buyer, it gives the seller extra time to get things squared away with their new home. It also eliminates the need to deal with storing their belongings or finding an interim place to live! For the seller, this is a more secure option then simply extending escrow as it removes the risk that the escrow will not close and it also gives him/her access to the money from the sale.

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The rent-back agreement is advantageous to the buyer for two main reasons:

  1. If there are several competitive offers on the home, it may make the buyer’s offer stand out and help ensure it’s acceptance.
  2. The rent charged to the seller may help to recover closing costs – or at least lower the overall cost of the move.

Note: While it is technically up to the buyer to determine how much the cost of rent should be, it is typically the equivalent of the buyers’ principal, interest, taxes and insurance on a prorated basis. Thus, the seller will essentially be paying the buyer’s mortgage for the amount of time they will be occupying the home.

It is important to note that rent-back agreements are legally binding agreements made in writing so it is essential to maintain clear communication concerning your needs (whether you are the buyer or the seller!). Be sure to agree on the exact date that the seller is expected to move out, as well as the amount of rent the seller will pay.

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Overall, the rent-back agreement offers the seller some breathing room and peace of mind when it comes to finding a replacement home, but also proves beneficial for the seller. As long as the kinks are worked out and both parties are willing to participate, this option is an ideal solution for those who are looking to relocate into their dream home!

 

 

 

 

Congratulations Jill and Hiro!

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What a huge honor it is to help family with their Real Estate needs. When Jill, Lauren’s cousin, and Hiro, Jill’s fiance, first approached us to help with their home search we were a bit taken back knowing that Hiro is a practicing commercial agent. However, the world of commercial Real Estate in many ways is quite different from residential Real Estate. It was quite interesting to see the differences in the standard protocols, timelines, and negotiations. When it came to terminology and some of the contractual portions of the process Hiro, of course, was well versed which made for easy communication.   Jill, being a previous home owner was also no rookie to this process. She stayed hands on and insightful throughout the entire process, asking great questions and paying close attention to detail. Together they were the ideal client!

We are so grateful to have been a part of this journey with both Jill and Hiro. It was very impressive to see their work ethics, sometimes things you don’t get to see in family environments. We always knew they are hard working and very intelligent people, but this experience has magnified how talented they both are and we now have a better understanding of why they both excel in their careers. To no surprise, the biggest inspiration that we will take away from this experience is from witnessing how well they work together as a team. It is so heartwarming to see how much joy they get from knowing the other is happy. They were always respecting the other’s opinion and checking in to make sure they were making decisions together that benefited the other’s happiness over themselves. What a selfless relationship and a true testament to their love for each other. With a wedding on the way, we know that this couple will go on to build an amazing life together in their new beautiful home.

To Jill and Hiro, thank you very much for this opportunity to represent you. Congratulations on a well deserved achievement and best wishes for many more success together. We love you!

Congratulations to Tim!

By: Michelle Accetta and Lauren Weber

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Congratulations to Tim on the purchase of his new home!! Tim’s story started off like many of today’s buyers with an air of frustration and cynicism. After submitting multiple offers and getting beat out by other buyers, Tim put home buying on hold and found a place to rent which is where our paths crossed! Fast forward to a couple years later, we re-introduced the idea of being a home owner to Tim which he expressed was still a goal of his. At our buyers consultation we sat down and listened to his past experience and assured him that it didn’t have to be that way again. We educated him on how we approach the home buying process and he left our meeting in high spirits.

Showing houses to him and even a call with him to confirm an appointment was always a pleasure. Tim has to be one of the most positive people we know. He is always upbeat, has a smile on his face, and makes the best of any situation! By fate, and some hard work, the stars aligned and we identified the perfect home for Tim. Big yard to throw around some football, redone so he can immediately move in, and in a nice quite neighborhood with a friendly commute to work! With some negotiations we got our offer accepted and secured a reduced sales price during our contingency period. In Tim’s words “We under promised and over delivered”.

What there is to take away from Tim’s story is his attitude and trust. Every home we have sold we are confident that each of our clients has ended up exactly where they’re supposed to be. Though Tim was skeptical, he trusted us and was so positive and fun! It really goes to show that no matter what you are doing, how good or how bad, it always comes down to your attitude! Working with Tim was a fantastic reminder of that. So get out there, take the bull by the horns, put a smile on your face and be like Tim!!

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