Pasadena Real Estate - Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Buying or Selling Your Home in Pasadena!

Greater Pasadena real estate market trends, valuable news about market conditions, including foreclosure information in Pasadena and surrounding cities plus much more.

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April 21, 2008

Advice Your Pasadena Real Estate Agent is NOT Giving You

What your Pasadena Real Estate CA agent wants you to know

- but doesnt always tell youlock and key

? DO run your credit report 2 to 3 months prior to beginning your Pasadena home search

WHY? This will allow you and your real estate agent to review your report for any negative items that could be affecting your FICO score. Improving your FICO scores by addressing these items will improve your chances of getting a better interest rate on your mortgage.

? DO NOT ask sellers for price reductions. DO ask for seller cash concessions.

WHY? Most lenders will allow up to 6% in seller concessions given to the buyer. These cash concessions can be used to temporarily or permanently buy down the interest rate on the buyers loan and/or pay for some of the closing costs.

Seller concessions make it easier for buyers to qualify for a loan.

Seller concessions help buyers purchase their Pasadena home with less money down.

Seller concessions allow buyers to afford more house.

Seller concessions help buyers with lowering their monthly payments.

Seller concessions help sellers sell their home faster.

? DO buy down your own mortgage interest rate when possible.

WHY? This allows buyers to take advantage of a lower monthly payment permanently for the life of the loan. The amount that the bank charges for the buy-down is considered pre-paid interest in the year paid and can be deducted when you file your income taxes.

? DO investigate buying a Short Sale property.

WHY? There are a lot of Short Sales coming up on the Pasadena real estate market. You can potentially purchase a home at a much better price with some built-in equity.

READ MORE: Pasadena Real Estate Agents and Short Sales

? DO see if you qualify for a VA loan.

WHY? VA program for owner-occupied housing is one of the best loan programs available. It is possible for veterans to obtain 100% loans and allow sellers to pay for all closing costs. Almost 40% of US adult population are veterans or are married to ones.

April 21, 2008

San Rafael Hills in Pasadena is going Green!

Pasadena's first ECO HOUSE is coming to the hills - San Rafael Hills that is - near you!

Architecural Record reports that this home will be three-bedroom, single-level home encompassing 1,975 square feet will sit on an upper terrace of the lot, with a two-car garage under the house at street level. Grid-tied solar panels will supply power for the house. The SCIP design allows for a cantilevered roof with no visual supports, creating an uninterrupted view and indoor-outdoor living. The front facade, made of a glass door system that can slide into interior pockets of the living area, fully opens. Inside, LED lights illuminate the house and complete the projects commitment to low-energy use.

This will be the first LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Environmental Design) home in the country and we are so excited to have it be built in Pasadena CA. I cant wait to see if this home will start a new movement of eco friendly homes!

Ground breaking is next month - May 2008! For more information, please visit www.thePasadenaEcoHouse.com

READ MORE:  Pasadena City Guide

See San Rafael homes for sale below by clicking on the home search below.

 

READ MORE:  Pasadena real estate update 2012 – see luxury home sales.


Irina is a Top Realtor and the founder and President of Pasadena Views Real Estate Team™. She is available to assist you in all of your Real Estate transactions. Email or call her today at (626)629-8439.

 

April 20, 2008

Old Town Pasadena Restaurant Row - Great Places to Eat in Pasadena

Restaurant Row is located in Old Pasadena on Raymond Avenue (between Union & Holly) just off of Colorado Boulevard. Its steps from the new Metro Gold Line station, Pasadena's Senior Center, Norton Simon Museum and Memorial Park.

Pasadena's Restaurant Row offers an eclectic mix of dining venues ranging from neighborhood cafes to some of the highest Zagat-rated (and of course, Yelp-rated) gourmet restaurants in Southern California.

Nearby movie theaters, bookstores and trendy designer shops makes this an easy walking destination with plenty to occupy an afternoon or evening visit.

There's plenty of parking - both valet and public - making it a convenient stop.

Restaurants:

54 Holly Street Cafe known for its hearty portions of homestyle cooking such as pancakes, omelets and burgers. Open daily. Cash only. 54 E. Holly Street 626.792.0506

Cafe Bizou is a French bistro rated by Zagat as the ˜most popular restaurant in LA 2001-2005. Ive really enjoyed dinner there. Its truly an elegant and fun restaurant to go to. 91 N. Raymond Avenue 626.792.9923

Chado Tearoom features a huge selection of teas from around the world with tasty scones, finger sandwishes and salads. I had an afternoon tea with a friend of mine and enjoyed every minute of it! This is a great place to schedule your special occasions with the women you love! 79 N. Raymond Avenue 626.431.2832

Shaab is an authentic Japanese restaurant offering fresh sushi and traditional Japanese Cuisine. 77 N. Raymond Avenue 626.683.1150

Xiomara combines French technique with tastes from Cuba and other parts of teh New Wrold. Among the highest rated Latin restaurants in Southern California. 69 N. Raymond Avenue 626.796.2520

Yujean Kangs has the most delicious and unique Chinese food. I enjoyed every bite of it. It has earned the highest rating of any Chinese restaurant in the 2005 Zagat guide. It puts a new spin on Chinese food. You just have to try it. 67 N. Raymond Avenue 626.585.0855

Vive provides a sensual dining experience that engages the senses. It features a a Latin Asian Lounge and Bar. 61 N. Raymond Avenue www.vivelounge.com

Cafe Atlantic is a traditional Cuban cuisine restaurant with a great atmosphere and reasonable prices. Cafe Atlantics authentic Cuban cuisine has earned teh praise of Zagat, LA Weekly and the LA Times. 53 E Union Street 626.796.7350

For more restaurants, museums and activities to do in Pasadena, please visit our 365 Things To Do In Pasadena® site!

April 20, 2008

Pasadena Real Estate Agent Tells ALL: Sellers Beware

As a Real Estate Broker working in the Pasadena, California market place, I have been monitoring homes as they come up on the market. This, of course, helps me understand and to always be on top of the current inventory.

As new listings come up in and around Pasadena, I have programmed my computers to send me an automated email with information on the property immediately upon the home hitting the Multiple Listing Service.

Over the last year or so, I have seen some, well... the only way I can describe it is "doozies" coming through my email. I am constantly amazed that we have Real Estate Agents that literally throw the property on the market with no forethought or plan.

So¦ I decided to write a series of posts for sellers to give some guidance as to what they should expect from their Real Estate Agent and how they can check to see that their Agent is doing their job.

After all, no one cares about your home like you do. In most cases, its your biggest investment. So¦ please do not take marketing lightly and ensure make sure that you get what you pay for!

Your Number 1 Goal in marketing your home is quite simply to get as many EYEBALLS as you can to see it! Simple, isnt it?

The more people I can bring in to see your home, the more likely your house will sell faster and at the highest price! The first TWO WEEKS of the listing period (being officially on the market, in the MLS) will either make you or break you!

Sellers make sure that your Real Estate Agent doesnt just come in, sign the listing agreement and your home is in the Multiple Listing Service the next day! OUCH¦ no preparation and no thought given to exposure.

At the very minimum, I would suggest that your marketing plan and preparation include the following:Staged Living Room

  • First, before marketing your home, make sure its been staged. Make sure that your Realtor is working with a Staging Professional and brings one in for a consultation to talk to you about maximizing your homes appeal and get it ready ready for sale. If your home doesnt show well, no amount of marketing/exposure will help. The price will be the ONLY deciding factor. Please refer to the following post for more information on staging - What Is Staging? Also, heres a good example of before and after pictures on a vacant property at www.WhatIsStaging.Info.
  • Once your house is ready to show, make sure that your Real Estate Agent takes LOTS of pictures of your home - inside and out! Not just one picture - TONS of pictures! Your home at a minimum should have 10 to 12 pictures in the MLS. Remember, that based on the NARs (National Association of Realtors) 2005 profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 77% of consumers start their search on the internet. Price and location gets their attention, but the pictures entice them to actually set up an appointment and visit the home. There are too many listings in the MLS that have NO pictures what so ever, or just ONE picture. In todays age of digital cameras, that is just not acceptable. Sellers, you can easily check the MLS to see how many pictures your home has and the quality of these pictures. Would you want to visit your own home after seeing the way it looks on-line? Pictures are worth than a thousand words, right?
  • Make sure that there is a Real Estate Show (Flash Presentation) or a Virtual Tourassociated with your home on the MLS. 82% of all time spent searching for a home is being spent on Realtor.com. If you go to Realtor.com, youll see that one of the search options allows you to search for homes with only Virtual Tours. Why is that? In my experience, we are all trying to save as much time as possible. By looking at pictures and virtual tours on-line, consumers are quick to identify the homes they want. I even had several of my buyers say to me that if they cant see the home on line, they think that theres something wrong with it - otherwise there would be pictures. Also it will give your potential buyers a much better feel for the house.

Play the Show Button

  • Talking about Realtor.com, the question to ask your Real Estate Agent is - Can you FEATURE my home on Featured homes in Realtor.com?Featured Homes on Realtor.com Folks, its really simple, if your home is featured on Realtor.com, it will get 500% more exposurethan a home that is NOT a featured home. Also featured homes feed to sites like MSN.com, MOVE.com, AOL.com and more¦ Think Exposure. Now, only 1% of all Realtors in each marketplace have the Featured Home marketing. Try to find the ones that do. At a minimum, Real Estate Agents should be able to Showcase (enhance) your listing on Realtor.com. If a Realtor, doesnt have a Showcase or a Featured home package, your listing will still appear on Realtor.com, but will not stand out or have the same amount of exposure. Again, ask before you list, and then follow up by visiting Realtor.com to see how your home looks.
    • Your Pasadena Real Estate Agent should market your home to your neighbors. Its been proven time and time again that your neighbors will know someone who wants to live in their area. If your neighbors know about your house and are invited to participate in helping them select their next neighbor, your homes chances of selling faster and for more money increase. I recommend sending out at least 200 to 400 Just Listed Cards to the neighborhood. Also, your Realtor should hold a special Neighborhood only Open House - I like holding Twilight Open Houses and inviting neighbors to see the home before anyone else sees it.
    • Your Real Estate Agent should market your home to the Real Estate community. Chances are that another agent will represent a successful buyer for your home. Does your agent have a database with names and email addresses of top agents in the area? Do they have established relationships with these agents? How do they market their listings to the real estate community. What format does the marketing take? Your agent should utilize both email and the ˜old fashioned distribution of flyers to their fellow agents to encourage them to come preview your home. Also, its critical to have your home advertised on a Broker Tour.
    • Will your agent create a website specifically for your home? Will it have its own domain name that can be advertised on the sign riders and in other marketing materials. For example, visit http://www.pasadenaviews.com/free-home-search/pasadena-home-for-sale-california-english-cottage-caltech-adjacent-2926-s-craig/
    • What kind of brochures will your agent order? Are they professional? In color? Printed on nice paper? I sort of like to think of it as writing a resume for a job interview¦ the brochure represents your home and will be picked up by other real estate professionals, neighbors and potential buyers. You want it to stand out!
    • Is there an 800 number with a specific message about your home? A lot of home buyers do NOT want to speak with a Real Estate Agent at the begining. They are just not comfortable. But, if they see an 800 number with information about your home that they can call 24/7, theyll do that. Whats more interesting is that as an agent, I automatically get notified of any phone calls that come in on any of my assigned 800 number listings. I can always follow up with the prospective buyer.
    • Public Open Houses - I am not a huge proponent of Open Houses, but the first weekend that the house is on the market, is very critical. Holding the home open both Saturday and Sunday makes it easier for potential buyers to stop on by and see your home first hand.

    As you can see, there's so much to be done - taking pictures, creating website, publishing flyers, updating Realtor.com and other websites, creating 800 # messages, etc. It can not be done in one day.

    There are so many steps along with the ones that I have listed here that need to be done before your home hits the MLS. Its not as easy as just putting a sign in front of your home and saying that its now on the market for sale.

    Sellers please be aware of what your agent is doing for you! Don't be afraid to ask questions. Selling a home is a partnership, both agent and seller working in concert for a common goal.

    Please ensure that your home is represented professionally! Ensure that your agent communicates with you every step of the way. Ultimately, your bottom line is impacted.

    GOOD LUCK with the sale of your home!

    April 20, 2008

    Pasadena Buyers can save Thousands of $s in property taxes

    Are you 55 or older and live and own real estate in Pasadena, CA or Los Angeles County*?

    If so, you can save thousands of dollars each year in your home property taxes.

    How? Proposition 60/90!

    What is it? How does it work?

    This proposition was passed to provide tax relief to senior citizens who sell their existing home and purchase a replacement residence worth the same or less than the original.

    In essence, if you are ready to sell your home and would like to down size into something smaller, maybe a condo or just a less expensive house, this proposition will carry over your current assessed real estate tax value.

    For example,

    Your existing home is worth $750,000.

    You bought it for $200,000.

    You are probably paying somewhere around $2,500 a year in Real Estate Taxes.

    NOW, you are ready to downsize and are looking to buy a home for about $600,000. Normally, your real estate taxes will be calculated based on the purchase price of $600,000. Real Estate property taxes run about 1.2% of the sales price in Los Angeles county. This would mean that your taxes would now be about $7,200. OUCH!!!

    This proposition allows you to carry over your existing tax base of $2,500. Saving you almost $5,000 each year!

    There are certain criteria that you must meet:

    • The seller of the original residence, or spouse who resides with the seller, must be at least 55 years of age at the time of the sale AND¦
    • The replacement home must be of EQUAL or LESS value than the home sol, AND
    • The replacement home must be either in the same county or another participating county.

    That is all!!!

    *The following counties participate in this program: Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Ventura.

    This is as simple as filling out a form. BUT, it has to be done within a certain window of time.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information on this proposition or with any real estate related question.

    Please take advantage of this wonderful opportunity! Do NOT throw your money away!

    READ MORE:  Real Estate Guide - Everything You Need to Know about Buying or Selling Your Home

    Posted in Buyers
    April 20, 2008

    Shift happens in Pasadena CA Real Estate market: Top 10 Seller Mistakes!

    I have always believed that real estate is strictly a LOCAL business. To this day, I am flabbergasted by the local Pasadena news media writing and panicking about national real estate trends. What does that have to do with Pasadena home sales? Very little!

    The real estate market in and around Pasadena, California has been pretty steady. Its not as hot as it used to be, but were definitely seeing a shift to a more balanced market.

    Buyers are being more cautious and are taking a little more time to find the home of their dreams. Sellers are begining to be a bit more realistic about how fast their home will sell and for what price.

    Is this a good thing? Yes! Pasadena home prices could not have sustained the 20% to 25% increases in home values for much longer. The fact that the prices are stabilizing is great for everyone involved.

    This list of the top ten mistakes are geared towards you, the potential seller. Selling a home can and still is quite profitable in today's changing market. So here you go¦ my list of the top 10 mistakes that I see sellers make today:

    MISTAKE #1: FSBO (For Sale By Owner) - Can you sell your home yourself? Certainly! Thousands of people across the country do it everyday. Can you sell your home for top dollar, with less hassles and ensure that all the paperwork is completed correctly and the required disclosures are provided to the buyer? Most likely not.

    • By trying to sell your home without the help of a professional agent, you automatically limit the exposure of your home. Lets face it, most realtors will not show it AND as a FSBO, you will not have access the same resources that a professional real estate consultant has - Multiple Listing Services, Realtor.com, Trulia, LATims.com, Blogging platforms, etc. It goes on and on¦.
    • The number of forms/disclosures required to sell a home is mind boggling. Contracts are changed and updated annually by the California Association of Realtors. Each city has their own disclosure requirements. Realtors take continuous classes to stay on top of the most current legal requirements. Most of our files are 2 to 3 inches thick.
    • Negotiation - selling a home is not a simple matter of getting the buyer to offer the highest price. Great realtors understand that selling a home is a factor of PRICE and TERMS. We know that there are buyers out there that will come in with a high price and then try to negotiate at every step of the contract and wear you down. By the time, the escrow closes - if it closes - you did not sell your home for as much as you anticipated. The terms are critical - loan and appraisal contingency periods, down payment, physical inspection contingency, etc.

    MISTAKE #2: Hiring an Out of the Area Realtor to sell your home - Yes¦ I know¦ you have a friend¦ you have a distant cousin¦ you have a name of someone who sold a home for one of your coworkers, BUT they work 45 minutes away. Its okay. Its just putting the home into the Multiple Listing Service, right? It is critical that you find a realtor that specializes in your neighborhood, knows the city requirements, understands and tracks the market trends on a regular basis and has a great reputation in the real estate community.

    There have been countless times, where I was able to get a great deal for my buyers because the Realtor representing the seller, placed information about the home in question in the wrong Multiple Listing Service or under a wrong area. Or, the realtor didnt understand the intricacies of pricing the home properly given the schools or other area idiosyncracies.

    READ ALSO: Pasadena Real Estate Agent Interviewing Tip

    MISTAKE #3: Hiring a SOLO Real Estate Agent to sell your home. I am not saying that you have to hire a Realtor that is part of a huge team. But, the Realtor that you hire should have a group of experts on THEIR team. For example, my team consists of a Accredited Certified Stager, Transaction Coordinator, a Marketing Director, a Title Representative, a Termite Inspector, a Contractor, an Inspector, a Buyers agent, and an assistant.

    MISTAKE #4: Hiring a PART TIME Real Estate Agent - honestly¦ thats even worst than selling your home For Sale By Owner - the agent will not have the knowledge and experience required to sell your home and will charge you for it. UGH! Shall I say more?

    MISTAKE #5: Not having your home STAGED - Staged homes sell faster and for more money - period! I am a complete believer in staging. I bring in an Accredited Staging Professional for a consultation and a detailed report for each and every one of the homes I sell. It is critical that your home shows its best and is optimized to create the most positive response with the potential buyers.

    READ MORE:  Staging Information

    MISTAKE #6: Not getting a physical inspection performed prior to putting your home on the market. By inviting a physical inspector, you are able to foresee and address potential issues down the road and avoid cancelled escrows.

    MISTAKE #7: Putting your home on the market too quickly! - Putting a house on the market is an orchestrated event. It requires a lot of preparation and full and complete execution. You can not just throw the house into the Multiple Listing Service and then add on photos, marketing, announcements later. Think of it as a ˜roll out, a ˜blitz. You need to create excitement and anticipation for the buyers out there.

    MISTAKE #8: Not using the internet to the fullest - Over 70% of all buyers start their search on the internet. Multiple photos, Virtual Tours, Personal Address websites, Blogs - all these SELL YOUR HOME! Make sure that your agent utilizes the most advanced technology. Make sure that your home is entered in every local Multiple Listing Service in your area - most areas have several. In the Pasadena area, there are 4 Multiple Listing Services that your home shoudl be in! Make sure that your Realtor has Featured Homes on Realtor.com in your area (Featured Homes on Realtor.com generate 500% more hits to your homes information). Make sure that they post your homes information anywhere and everywhere! Its critical.

    MISTAKE #9: Ignoring your neighbors - always, always invite your neighbors¦ make them feel special¦ involve them in the selection of the new buyer. Chances are that your neighbor knows someone - a friend, a family member - that wants to live next to them. Have Twilight Open Houses for neighbors only. Send out special invitations for them and their loved ones. Let them know that they're welcome to visit and to tell all their friends about your home.

    MISTAKE #10: Overpricing your home. Many sellers are under the wrong impression that if they start out high, they will eventually sell at the price they want. That is a fallacy. A home needs to be priced correctly the moment it hits the market. Work with your Real estate Consultant and review the current market condition for your area. Take a look at your competition, as well as the closed sales.

    To sum this all up an appropriate pricing and marketing strategy coupled with staging and an experienced real estate consultant will help your home stand out and sell quickly and for more $$$$$s.

    Good luck in the sale of your home!

     

     

    Posted in Sellers
    April 19, 2008

    Pasadena CA Agents and Short Sales

    Did you know that most Pasadena real estate agents will not show their buyers available homes for sale that are in a ˜short sale process?

    Why?

    Most Pasadena real estate agents do not understand how to work with a ˜short sale. They do not understand how to counsel their buyers appropriately and do not want to put in the time or effort into the short sale, thus avoiding any listings that state that they are ˜short sales.

    We have been fortunate over the last 6 to 8 years not to work with loss mitigators at the banks in handling these home sales. It is an art more than a science. Each bank has thier own idiosyncrasies. It does get complicated and requires a lot of work on the part of your Pasadena real estate agent.

    Can YOU buy a home through a Short Sale? YES¦ I just helped buyers purchase and successfully close a ˜short sale home last week.

    Stay tuned for more information on how Short Sales work and what to expect. Ask your Pasadena real estate agent whether or not they know how to deal with a short sale.

    There are currently 24 single family homes for sale that fall into the ˜Short Sale category in Pasadena as of today. They range between $349,000 and $799,000.

    If you are looking to buy a home in Pasadena, it is important to understand all your options including Short Sale homes.

    April 19, 2008

    San Marino School District needs YOUR help today!

    Hot off the presses from Dr. Gary Woods, San Marino Unified School Districts Superintendent.

    We are preparing for a $1.3 million shortfall as a result of the Governors Proposed Budget for 2008-2009. SMUSD is a world-class educational program because our community has invested in programs and people that set us apart from average school districts. There is not a single program that we offer that should not exist. We must balance our budget by June 30. Below is a list of program changes (presented below by school site/level) which will be seen throughout the District if we are short the necessary funds to preserve what we have today.

     

    SAN MARINO HIGH SCHOOL
    Increase class-sizes by 35%. Consequences:
    · Classes of 20 become classes of 28
    · Classes of 28 become classes of 35-38
    Subjects impacted:
    · Spanish and French
    · Math (Honors and Advanced Placement)
    · English 

    Reduce course offerings or instructional support in:

    • Music (choral and instrumental)
    • Visual Arts
    • Performing Arts (drama and dance)
    • Technology
    • Library Services

    Eliminate assistant athletic coaches

    Reduction of counseling services

    • Less time preparing/altering student schedules for their course progression at SMHS
    • Less time preparing college recommendation letters and advising students on application progress and process
    • Less time for additional student counseling services
    HUNTINGTON MIDDLE SCHOOL
    Increase class-sizes by 35% Consequences:
    · Classes of 20 become classes of 28
    · Classes of 28 become classes of 35
    Subjects impacted:
    · History
    · Music
    · English 

    Eliminate course offerings:

    • Zero Period Offerings: advance orchestra, wind ensemble, choir
    • 6th Grade Choir
    • Annual Musical
    • Advanced Technology for 8th Grade
    • After school sports (intramural/traveling team)

    Limited library access

    ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
    Increase class sizes by 35%
    • Classes of 20 will become classes of 28
    • Classes of 28 will become classes of 35

    Need to create multi-grade combination classes (i.e., a combined 1st and 2nd grade classroom)

    Impact to student programs

    • Reduce enrichment opportunities (library, music, art)
    • Reduce science lab opportunities
    • Physical education classes (fewer days, larger classes)
    • Reduce technology instruction
    • District contribution to field trips (fully funded by parents)

    Reduce student supervision for:

    • Before and after school
    • Lunch time
    • Physical education classes
    DISTRICT-WIDE IMPACT
    Jeopardize our standing as a top-ranked academic public school district

    Technology

    • Broken computers or connections would not be fixed or replaced
    • Halt Model Classroom program
    • Compromise collaborative and instructional use of advanced technology in the classroom

    Reduction of facility maintenance

    • Classrooms and facilities cleaned less often
    • Facility set up for events minimized
    • Elimination of preventative maintenance for facilities

    Reduce administrative/clerical support

    YOU CAN HELP!
    Please visit the San Marino Schools Foundation site and learn how you can help us protect and preserve our world-class programs.
    Posted in San Marino
    April 19, 2008

    Buying a home in Pasadena? Get a sewer inspection!

    You found the right home in Pasadena and are so excited!!! All you have to do is just get through the inspections period.

    There are three main contngencies that stand between you and your Pasadena home. A contingency is a condition that needs to be met prior to going forward with the escrow. They are:

    1. You need to get approved for a loan

    2. The property needs to appraise at its selling price.

    3. You need to perform your due diligence and get a physical inspection. This includes going to the city to review permits and to ask any questions that might be of a concern to you. Getting a physical inspector to go out to do a general inspection of the property. Checking the local area, looking at the schools, etc.

    If I may make a suggestion, as you're checking the neighborhood out, hiring an inspector for your general overview of the home, include a sewer inspection as one of your items to order and review.

    The reason for this suggestion is simple, a physical inspector can give you a pretty good feel for the house, the Air Conditioning system, structure and can point you towards getting additional inspections if something is amiss. What they can not do is get into the pipes and make sure that they look okay.

    A sewer inspection runs about $225 in the Pasadena area. A plumber comes out with a special camera and runs it through the piping all the way to the sewer lines. You can see exactly what they do on a screen and will get a DVD with their findings. Its not much to spend considering that any issues uncovered could potentially cause you thousands of dollars.

    I learned this the hard way, one of my sellers found out that their guest house was connected to a septic tank instead of city sewer lines through this inspection. My sellers did NOT know this. The city signed off on all plumbing for the guest house with no notation about the septic tank. The city did not know about the septic tank also. The buyer probably would not have known about this as well unless something went wrong down the road.

    Its a small price to pay for peace of mind.

    If you would like some references to sewer line inspection companies, please email me at Irina(at)PasadenaViews(dot)com or give me a call at 626.629-8439.

    Good luck with the purchase of your home!

    Posted in Buyers
    April 19, 2008

    What does your Pasadena Real Estate Agent do for you?

    Sellers what do you expect from your Pasadena Real Estate Agent?

    Most sellers will say to sell my home at the highest possible price with the least inconvenience.

    But, how do Pasadena Real Estate Agents differ?

    We all have different approaches and views on how to accomplish our sellers goals. When you are interviewing a Realtor for the job of selling your home, I would urge you to first LISTEN to what the Realtor says:

    Is he or she trying to identify whats important to you in selling your home?

    • Is the Realtors approach more consultative vs. ˜salesy?
    • Do you feel like theres a connection between the two of you?
    • Do they understand the market trends in your local area? Can they intelligently predict, based on hard data, the pricing trend in your area?
    • Do they know the inventory and how many months of inventory is there on the market currently?

    Here are some of the questions to ask:

    • How will you market my property? A good Realtor will have a nice mix of internet, ˜snail mail, e-mail, paper/magazine advertising. She will also market to top agents in the area, neighbors and current sellers that could fall into the move-up category for your home.
    • How will you keep in touch with me throughout the process? A Realtor should be updating their clients via phone at least once a week and should be able to provide access to a personal website where youll be able to track activities on the sale of your home. If you like using email, is your agent email savvy? How often do they check it? Do they have set times for returning their voicemails daily?
    • Do they have an assistant or helper for when theyre out of town or unavailable?
    • Do they have a full blown campaign ready to go the moment the listing is ready to be put on the market with custom color flyers, personal websites, 800 number (IVR) technology? It usually takes at least 7 to 10 days to line everything up so that your home is marketed correctly on day 1. The first 2 weeks of putting your home on the market are the most critical. Make sure that everything is perfect and not rolled out ˜piece-meal.
    • Will they stage your home? A staged home will sell for more money and in less time than a home that is not staged.

    Read more on Staging: What is Staging?

    • Does he/she have Showcase homes on Realtor.com? Featured Homes? Only very few Realtors have Featured Homes. These spots give your home unprecedented exposure with hundreds of hits daily.
    • Are there tracking reports available for all activities on my listing? A good Realtor will provide you with weekly stats.
    • How often will you reevaluate the market and my competition? Its critical to make sure that you and your Realtor know what your competition is so that an appropriate strategy is used.
    • What kind of pricing strategy would be best used for my home? Theres a fixed price and a Value Range Marketing Price. A good Realtor will be able to discuss the best pricing strategy and recommend the one that is right for you.
    • How many Multiple Listing Services (MLS) are in my area? In the Pasadena area, there are 2 distinct MLSs and another 2 that are on the border. To get the maximum exposure, your home should be listed in ALL of them.
    • Where does most of the Realtors business come from? You want to hear - REFERRALS! What a great indication of them doing a spectacular job if their clients refer them to more.

    Dont be afraid to ask for names and telephone numbers of past clients. Your home, in most instances, is your largest investment. ASK, ASK, ASK and LISTEN!

    All Realtors are NOT created equal! Do your homework and Good Luck!

    Posted in Buyers, Sellers