9 Mobile APPS Los Angeles Home Buyer Should Have When Touring Homes

9 Mobile APPS Los Angeles Home Buyer Should Have When Touring Homes

9 Must Have Mobile APPS For Los Angeles Home Buyers

If you're thinking about or are in the process of buying real estate in Los Angeles, you should have, at the ready, the below 9 mobile APPS and sites in your phone or saved as a favorite on your computer or mobile browser.

The nine APPs and sites I listed below are what I actively use and always recommend to out of state family and friends.
1) Notes App.  Your native note-taking app on your phone or Evernote are both great options.  It’s crucial to take detailed notes after you tour every listing.  Either your agent can do it, if you share a notes system or if you collaborate through shared search technology, like our proprietary Compass APP and backend.
What notes will you be taking?  The link below provides a checklist of 17 Key items you should ask or try to determine with every propeyou see see and consider a viable option to buy.
2) LADBS.  This is the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety’s native mobile APP.  You can quickly search a listing and see if any permits were pulled on recent or older work, if there are existing permit or property violations, or if there are any pending items that are still outstanding with the city.
**PRO TIP** The records are not always accurate online, they are most of the time, but not 100% of the time.  Therefore, during the escrow process we will recommend two or three different service providers that can pull all of the records for you, in case they aren’t accurate online, or guide you to one of the LADBS locations so you can pull them yourself.
3) Magic Plan.  This apps allows you to create floor plans and measure distances.  If you’ve found the one, I highly suggest using this app to find out if a bedroom will fit a queen or king size bed or if your couch will fit in your potential new living room.
4) Zillow Mortgage.  Currently, outside of the Compass APP, this my favorite mortgage calculator.  It includes, in every payment calculation, the property taxes, home insurance, private mortgage insurance (if you put less than 20% down), principle, and interest in every calculation.   Are you lowering or increasing your price range and need to see what the new payment will be?  Download this free app ASAP.
5) Mapping LA by the LA Times.   Ok, so this isn’t an APP, but easily accessible via any internet browser.  Save it as a favorite or take a look at the areas you’re considering in this site.  It provides lots of useful and relevant information regarding demographics, area boundaries, schools, and crimes.
6) CrimeMapping.  You can either download the APP or go to their site.  Crimemapping.com.  The LAPD uses their site and uploads relevant and recent reports.  You can also visit the LAPD site:
7) Parking APPS – INRIX ParkME & Polist Assist.  We all know parking in LA can be a pain.  These two apps hope to provide a solution to that problem.  INRIX provides you with the larger parking structures or the free ones.  Polist provides information regarding the metered ones.
8) Compass Market Apps.  Are you a hardcore analytical?  Maybe you’re an accountant or statistician by trade?  Well, this is the app you’ve been dreaming of.
If you’ve ever had any questions about which market is trending up, down, or steady.  You can run an instant analysis on almost all Los Angeles areas and filter by bedroom count, price range, property type and much more.  The APP provides insight on all of the recent Los Angeles transaction data as well as historic price trends.
Below are a few screenshots of the app’s interface.

9) Compass Search App.
Currently, Compass, in my opinion, is the gold standard for search because of the user interface, the ability to collaborate with a professional on EVERY listing you like, and the perfectly balanced mix of hybrid real estate brokerage and technology company. It’s the first real estate technology company designed to combine high tech and real estate, with no intention of replacing the essential human element of a real estate transaction.  Compass is also the fastest privately growing brokerage in the country.  They are recruiting the most talented agents in the industry and empowering them with time-saving tools to advise their clients, and technology and data that infuses accuracy and speed and provides actionable information for home buyers and sellers.  The focus is always the consumer.
The Compass eco-system includes top talent from within and outside the real estate industry including Google, Twitter, McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, and Facebook.
I know I work for Compass and may have a bias, but if it wasn’t the most efficient and easy to use platform – then I’d either be using a competitors service or would have purchased my own off the shelf solution.  In fact, I no longer use my local MLS service, unless I need to input a listing.   I’m huge on real estate technology being intuitive, with beautiful design, easy to read and use, and that it carries with it a low amount of clicks or actions in order to complete a task.
Why does Compass feature a top engineering staff, while most brokerages outsource or purchase off the shelf technology?
Compass is now a startup valued at over 4B, which has raised over 1.2 Billion in investor funds from companies like Soft Bank, Fidelity, IVP, and Wellington.  The aim is to create the best technology, not only for the consumer, but to also pair it with the best agents.
The search experience with our app, in my opinion, is second to none; you can create collections (like Pinterest boards), favorite your top properties, click “not interested” on ones you don’t like, calculate a mortgage directly from the app, take notes on each home, and collaborate with your agent.
The interface for the consumer whether it’s a buyer, seller, investor or renter features the ability to save and alter searches with or without your agent, share key market insights and reports with a few clicks, and move the process from buying to search to escrow or for sellers from pricing consideration and market analysis to pre-listing, to active listing,  to escrow and closing.  Again, this all just getting started.  
Want to search together?  Or need me to set up home tours for your favorite properties?  Simply download the app and add me as your preferred agent, and you’re set.

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Written By: Robert Rodriguez

Personally Speaking: I’m a proud dad and hockey player who leads with empathy and gratitude.

Goal: Providing my clients, friends, and colleagues with timely, intelligent and actionable advice.  I am always available to answer your questions regardless of whether you need to buy or sell.  Text, call or email 424-353-9004 | Robert@WestLALiving.com

Professionally Speaking:   Over 100 million in total sales volume, successfully completed over 200 transaction sides throughout the LA area and in a variety of neighborhoods with a wide range of property types.  In my 9 years as a licensed sales agent, I have climbed the ranks of the LA residential sales industry, distinguishing myself both locally and nationally.  I have sold complex Estates, land, income property, single family, luxury leases and condos. Both colleagues and clients widely recognize me as a respected professional whose reliability, dedication, and expertise is second to none.

Buyer Guide: What Home Buyers Should Look For And Ask When Touring Homes

Buyer Guide: What Home Buyers Should Look For And Ask When Touring Homes

How to Tour Homes Like A Real Estate Pro

17 Point Checklist

Below is a list of what home buyers should look for and the questions they should be asking each time they tour a potential home they are considering to purchase.

1) I first notice curb appeal.  Does the subject property have it or are there significant imperfections?  Simply put – is the exterior ugly, does it only have a back entrance, or maybe no parking?
The majority of the housing stock in Los Angeles is older and some properties carry significant flaws.  Most active and seasoned agents tour 20-40 properties a week and will be able to quickly communicate any out of the ordinary features, which may need considerable exterior updates or structural changes in order to correct.  If the price accounts for the flaw(s) and the buyers budget is met, then a defect may be an opportunity and not necessarily a hurdle.
2) Lot location is another important factor to gauge when previewing a home you will potentially purchase.  Luckily for us, it’s 2018 and Google street view is a tool everyone can access and one you should be using before touring a property.  You can get a generic feel for the area, a bird’s eye view of the neighborhood and make a few minor pre-determinations as to whether the property will be a good fit and if you should even go and tour it.  
I also ask myself the below listed questions.
  • Is the home on a busy road?  
  • Is it next to a freeway?
  • Does it back up to a fast food restaurant or gas station? 

These, and a few others, may decrease your average sales price when compared to other listings in the area when you try and sell in the future.

3) Neighborhood or Area.  Neighborhood, curb appeal and lot location are key factors that determine price and desirability.  Do the neighbors show pride of ownership?  Are the neighboring homes in the process of being remodeled or or do they look tired and worn out?  Quality of schools, access to public transportation, zoning restrictions, and upcoming developments also play a role in pricing and future desiribility.  In fact, there is a 21 point checklist of items you should consider and ask your agent when discussing potential areas and before deciding where your target neighborhood will be. For example, if you are purchasing a home between 1.5M-2M there will be a host of exchangeable neighborhoods through out Los Angeles, so taking a look at the list below will be important in helping determine where you should go.

 https://westlaliving.com/blog/price-is-just-one-factor-when-buying-real-estate/

4) What shape is the roof in?  I’m not an inspector, but I’ve read 250+ inspection reports, and toured thousands of homes.  I’ll never be the final word when it comes to the condition of a roof, but can provide a general opinion.  You’ll obviously have it inspected and either a roofer or your general inspector will be the final say.  But if we can determine that a home has a host of upgrades that you and the seller are likely not going to deal with or negotiate for, then you can save yourself time and valuable inspection dollars by moving on to the next potential option.
5) Does it have new or old windows?  Windows can be expensive and if they are old, in disrepair, or original to the home (if its older) they can increase your heating and cooling costs as they will not be as energy efficient as the new ones.
6) Does the flooring feel uneven or sloped?
7) How old is the electrical panel?  Is the panel 100, 200, or 300 amps?  If the property is older, has it been re-wired for electrical?
8) How old is the water heater?  Does look like its in good shape?  **PRO TIP** Most water heaters have a sticker somewhere on them that tell you the date the unit was manufactured, in case the seller or listing agent do not know.
9) Is the sewer line original or has it been replaced recently?  Any recent plumbing issues?
10) How old is the plumbing inside the house?  Is the plumbing galvanized, copper or PVC?
11) Has a termite inspection been completed?  If there is a termite inspection, will be provided a copy before or after we submit an offer?
Will the seller be willing to pay for a section 1 termite clearance?  If not, when was the last time it was treated for termites?
12) Is it possible for me or the buyer to poke my head underneath the crawl space to take a look a quick look at the foundation? 
**PRO TIP**
If it’s a raised foundation, then you may be able to see the plumbing underneath and determine if it’s copper, galvenized or PVC.  Also, if it’s a raised foundation you may be able to check and see if it’s been retrofitted for earthquake safety, which means it may have anchors, bolts and cripple walls.  However, even though I can give you a general opinion, the home inspector(s) will have the final say.  If you notice that the foundation is raised and made of bricks, you should think very carefully about purchasing the property.  Replacing a brick foundation can cost anywhere from $25,000 – $60,000 or more. Brick foundation are extremely unsafe and volatile during an earthquake.  If you cannot afford to replace or if there seller is not willing make a price or credit concession in consideration of the brick foundation, I am of the opinion that you should move on to a different option.
13) Are there any other disclosures the seller or listing agent made during the showing or that they maybe forgot and we should be made aware of?
Before I arrive, I also have the following information handy.
14) Average sales price to list price ratio for the area and comparable homes.  Are similar listing trading for more or less than the asking price of the subject property we are visiting?
15) What are market trends for the neighborhood, are they trending up or down?
16) What are the average days on market for similar listing in escrow and recently sold?  This will help tell you if you should move quickly with an offer or take a few days to think it over and compare other potential options.
17) Listing agents leave a blue print.  How does this listing agent operate?  Meaning, does he or she price their listings below market value to bid them up OR have they historically priced high and been worked down on price  OR do they normally price their properties at fair market value and achieve asking price or close to it?
Like this information?  Want to talk privately?  Shoot me a message.

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Written By: Robert Rodriguez

Personally Speaking: I’m a proud dad and hockey player who leads with empathy and gratitude.

Goal: Providing my clients, friends, and colleagues with timely, intelligent and actionable advice.  I am always available to answer your questions regardless of whether you need to buy or sell.  Text, call or email 424-353-9004 | Robert@WestLALiving.com

Professionally Speaking:   Over 100 million in total sales volume, successfully completed over 200 transaction sides throughout the LA area and in a variety of neighborhoods with a wide range of property types.  In my 9 years as a licensed sales agent, I have climbed the ranks of the LA residential sales industry, distinguishing myself both locally and nationally.  I have sold complex Estates, land, income property, single family, luxury leases and condos. Both colleagues and clients widely recognize me as a respected professional whose reliability, dedication, and expertise is second to none.

How To Get the Best Interest Rate and Mortgage When Buying a Home in Los Angeles

How To Get the Best Interest Rate and Mortgage When Buying a Home in Los Angeles

5 Step Guide: How & When to Shop for the best Rate and Terms for a Home Purchase Loan

If you're buying a home in the Los Angeles area and you're not paying cash, you are likely looking to find the best bank, mortgage lender, or broker that will provide excellent service and the lowest interest rate with little to no fees.

Below is a quick 5 step guide on how and when, during the home buying process, to shop for the best home mortgage loan.

 

1) Once you’ve decided to buy, one of the very first steps in the process is talking to a loan officer.  The initial person you speak to can be a mortgage broker, a direct lender, or a loan officer at your local bank.  There are three goals you should aim for when it comes to your initial conversation or consultation with a loan officer.  See A-B below.

 

     A) Find out much money you qualify for and how much money you will need for your down payment and closing costs.  It’s important to discuss example mortgage payments and if there will be any potential hurdles in having the loan approved during the underwriting process.

 

     B) Make sure they run your credit, review all of your financial documents, and provide you with a DU (desktop underwriting approval) or a conditional/pre-approval approval, which usually means all you need to do is find a property that will pass the appraisal inspection and appraise for your purchase price.  **PRO TIP** Do not settle for a pre-qualification, which usually entails only verbal communication and no verification of income documents and credit reports.

 

    C) Verify that the lender you meet or speak to is responsive and will be able to provide you an updated approval letter or adjust your approval letter in it needs a revision when you find a home you want to offer on.  This portion is crucial, especially if there are competing buyers on the house.

 

2) Make sure you do not leave any of your income documents with the loan officer.  If they need copies, be sure you email them over, or they scan a copy at your meeting.  Create a dropbox, desktop, or google drive folder of all of your income documentation, so it’s ready to be provided to other lenders when you do begin to shop around for a mortgage after you’ve found the property you want to buy.

 

3) Be sure to have the lender provide you a written copy of your FICO score.  You will need this later when you shop.

 

4) Find a house.  While you are searching for homes, I suggest you casually call around and see what kind of rates and fees other lenders are offering, but they aren’t relevant until you find your property.  Interest rates and program incentives change daily.  What you are quoted today could be lower or higher in the 30, 60 or 90 days it’s taken you to find your home.

 

 

**PRO TIP** Make sure no other lending institutions run your credit, until after you’ve found your ideal property, and your offer is accepted.  Having your credit ran too many times could lower your score. There is no point in having your credit ran unless you know you’re in contract and have the real ability to purchase a property.  If lenders want to run your credit before your offer is accepted, I suggest providing a copy of the FICO scores the initial loan officer provided you in step 3 above.

 

5) The day your offer is accepted or the day after acceptance is the best time to shop for a loan.  Some lenders may not provide a written quote until they run your credit.  This is ok if they’ve verbally given you great terms and a low-interest rate and maybe someone you are likely going to commit with.  My suggestion is to call 3 or 4 different lenders, for example, a large bank, mortgage broker, a direct lender, and credit union if you have a relationship.

 

**PRO TIP** Time is of the essence.  All California purchase contracts have a loan and appraisal contingency expiration date, which means you need to pick a bank immediately, which is why it’s not a bad idea to start calling around to test the water while you’re looking for homes.  If you are genuinely in the market to shop, then I suggest taking a half day or full day from work to get this accomplished as it will save you thousands in both the short run and long run.

 

**PRO TIP** Do you have more than 100k in retirement funds that you may be willing to transfer from financial institution to another?  For example, if you have $500,000 in a Morgan Stanley managed retirement account but are willing to move the funds to JP Morgan Chase, then the bank may be willing to offer you an interest rate discount on your mortgage anywhere from 1% point or more to earn your business.  I’ve seen this several times and it may make sense, but always consult with your accountant and financial advisor before making any big moves.

 

Also, leverage your real estate agent.  If they are active in the market, they will be a tremendous resource.

 

Why go through all of this trouble?  Simple.  Once your offer is accepted, in the eyes of a lending institution, you are business that is extremely likely to happen for them if they can earn it, which means they are more likely to sweeten the pot or lower their interest rate and fees.

 

 

**PRO TIP** Ask if they can offer a credit for closing costs, provide a no-fee loan, and at what rate?

 

Need more helpful and useful advice like this?  Just reach out, we are here to serve.  Robert@westlaliving.com or 424-353-9004

Get In Touch

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Written By: Robert Rodriguez

Personally Speaking: I’m a proud dad and hockey player who leads with empathy and gratitude.

Goal: Providing my clients, friends, and colleagues with timely, intelligent and actionable advice.  I am always available to answer your questions regardless of whether you need to buy or sell.  Text, call or email 424-353-9004 | Robert@WestLALiving.com

Professionally Speaking:   Over 100 million in total sales volume, successfully completed over 200 transaction sides throughout the LA area and in a variety of neighborhoods with a wide range of property types.  In my 9 years as a licensed sales agent, I have climbed the ranks of the LA residential sales industry, distinguishing myself both locally and nationally.  I have sold complex Estates, land, income property, single family, luxury leases and condos. Both colleagues and clients widely recognize me as a respected professional whose reliability, dedication, and expertise is second to none.

How To Win at Buying Real Estate in the Los Angeles Home Market

How To Win at Buying Real Estate in the Los Angeles Home Market

Vital Guide:  How to Win at Buying LA Real Estate

Buying a home in Los Angeles can be a complicated, time consuming, and possibly a disheartening process. If you want to succeed in buying your LA home in today's market, with the best possible terms, and in the shortest amount of time you should absolutely follow the process below.

If you Google search this topic you’ll likely find endless info and blogs with possibly non-relevant information, which usually leaves most potential buyers confused.  The outline below was written by me for you and is updated periodically to reflect the current market conditions.

Soulsearching:  Determine your motivation, timeframe, and investment or financial strategy.  I suggest you start thinking about ideal areas, property specs, and ideal features while also discussing this decision with your loved ones and key advisors (CPA, Financial Advisor, etc.).

It’s All About the Money:

1) No one wants to be house poor or worse unprepared when you find “the one”.  Start thinking about your monthly house budget and how much you have for a down payment and closing costs.  

2) My favorite online mortgage calculator is: https://www.zillow.com/mortgage-calculator/#source=Z_MLC_calculators

3) Once you’ve nailed down your budget, call a lender or an agent to have an educated conversation about closing costs, inspections costs, financing fees, and approximate monthly payments.  **PRO TIP** Click the link below for a breakdown of your potential closing costs on a buyer side transaction:

https://westlaliving.com/blog/a-guide-typical-buyer-closing-costs-in-los-angeles/

4. If you know your budget and know what you approximately qualify for, I suggest you start searching online and maybe begin driving neighborhoods that interest you.  If you need specific information before driving all over town and prefer to start a narrow search vs. a casting a larger one and funneling down, I highly recommend you call an agent for a breakdown of detailed demographics, crime statistics, industry perception, trends and a market analysis of recent price appreciation.  

5. Are you a do it yourself type?  Below is a link of 21 factors every buyer must consider before buying into a neighborhood and those same factors apply to price when it comes to a seller considering how they should price their home.  **PRO TIP**

https://westlaliving.com/blog/price-is-just-one-factor-when-buying-real-estate/

 

Next, You Have to Engage:

1) Schedule a buyer consultation with an agent by phone, video or in person, if you feel you need one  This may be a smart move even if your intention to buy is in 6, 9 or 12 months. You want to be prepared.  

You’ll go over area information, familiarize yourself with the best technology suited for your needs,  set up new home alerts so you can track the market, set up your home search app on your phone, discuss area conditions, review typical closing costs, review a purchase agreement, go over any questions and possibly get pre-approved if you’re ready to get started.

 

2) If you’re ready to start touring homes to potentially make an offer, make sure you get pre-approved.  This can happen before or after you meet with an agent. **PRO TIP** Make sure you obtain a conditional approval from your bank, loan officer, or mortgage broker vs. a pre-approval which sometimes means your entire financial profile has not been fully reviewed.  Having only a pre-approval or pre-qualification form from a lender could prevent you from purchasing a home with competing buyers who do have a full approval.

 

3) **PRO TIP** The lender that pre-approves you at the beginning of your home search may not be the lender that actually finances your property.  It’s important to possibly talk to a few lenders before you start to officially search for a home, but only one should run your credit and issue a conditional approval.  

The time to shop and negotiate with banks is the DAY AFTER your offer has been accepted.  But you have to move fast because your escrow clock is ticking. Ideally, you take half a day off and call to get a few quotes (if you hire us to represent you, we can help).  In a perfect world, for example, your offer is accepted on Monday, and you shop and choose a lender Tuesday. Click Here to Read More About Shopping for A Home Mortgage:

https://westlaliving.com/blog/how-to-get-the-best-interest-rate-and-mortgage-when-buying-a-home-in-los-angeles/ 

 

4) Remember, The best agents educate, ask questions and listen.  They usually discuss average days on market, low range vs. high range, average sales price to list price ratio, trending city pockets, and a plethora of data that is relevant today.  Great agents will never rush you or pressure and solely advise you to buy or not buy in an area or a property that they don’t believe is a solid choice based on your parameters and financial situation.  Moving at your speed and being mindful of your comfort levels is important.

 

5) **PRO TIP** Technology matters.  A well-equipped agent will have the the right platform so the search, escrow and closing process run seamlessly.  This means having an app where you can share saved properties, take notes during home tours, communicate about potential offers, outline and measure your progress in a sale, instant relevant market date by neighborhood, zip code, bed or bath count or month, and of course access and download all of your transactions documents in one location.

Click Here to View My List of the Most Relevant Real Estate Related Apps You Should Have Downloaded inn Your Phone Before You Start Touring Homes:  www.westlaliving.com/blog/the-best-real-estate-apps-for-buyers-and-sellers-in-los-angeles-2018 

 

When You Tour Homes, Tour Them Like a Pro:

 

1) Look at the roof, electrical panel, water heater, condition, look for potential moisture stains or cracking in the walls, windows, flooring, chimney, and even poke your head under the crawl space and take a look at the foundation.   Ask the condition and age of the above-listed systems if the other agent or seller is present on your tour.

—Use your real estate app and take notes of each system after you see each property.  

 

**PRO TIIP**Click Here to Learn About Touring Homes Like a Pro.  This link is my personal list of items I asses when touring single family residences and condos:  www.westlaliving.com/blog/list-of-items-to-check-when-touring-properties-and-before-buying-a-house-in-los-angeles

 

2) **PRO TIP** Download the LADBS app for your mobile device.  Quickly search a properties permit and violation history.  You can do so by clicking here: http://ladbs.org/ladbsgo/

3)The best agents see hundreds of homes a month and know what to watch out for and can sometimes gauge the condition of many items, but it’s always best to get the final say from an inspector or contractor during your due diligence portion of the transaction.

 

4) If you find a home you love and need quick measurements or a floor plan to gauge how furniture will fit, download my favorite award-winning app: https://www.magic-plan.com/

 

Writing Your Offer & What To Expect:

  1. Once you prepare to write your offer, your agent should educate on what the best strategy and terms will be to have it accepted if there is competition or how to negotiate the best price if there is potential wiggle room.
  2. You’ll need to provide the seller a full offer package, which includes a copy of your conditional loan approval, proof of funds, a copy of your credit score (with sensitive information whited out), purchase offer and a letter to the seller from you the buyer.  Some sellers give lots of weight to the buyer to seller letter while others don’t. But in a low inventory, competitive market it doesn’t hurt to write a heartfelt letter to the seller. Need a copy of a few that stood out to me over the years? Let me know, and I’ll send them over.  I always archive the best ones.
  3. The seller and the listing agent usually vet an offer by reviewing over 20 contractual terms and the buyer’s motivation, purchasing ability, and financial standing.  **Pro Tip** You can read my outline, which discusses how an offer can potentially be vetted by following the link below:

https://westlaliving.com/blog/how-to-properly-vet-a-purchase-offer/

 

If your offer is accepted, then you’ve won at buying!  In California, the seller has a contractual duty to sell you the property to you as long as you perform according to the agreement.  

 

If you’re working with me, then the loan should not be a problem as I make sure my client’s finances are fully underwritten with a conditional approval and have a proven process, assistant, transaction coordinator, and proven software that ensure you’re always informed and nothing falls through the cracks.

 

If all goes well, then you’re on your way to becoming a California Homeowner.  However, there are a few reasons, which I listed below as to why a transaction or home purchase escrow may fall apart.  

  1. During your repair inspection process, there may be large safety hazards or items you deem as deal breakers that the seller may not be willing to repair or credit money for.
  2. The property may not appraise for the purchase price you and the seller agree to, and the seller and buyer may not agree to negotiate a reduction or meet on common ground.

 

Here are two more helpful links to help you navigate the home buyer and seller escrow process:

Inspections, The 4 Repair Categories, & What’s Negotiable in a Home Purchase.  www.westlaliving.com/blog/what-can-and-cannot-be-negotiated-in-a-home-purchase-sale-in-los-angeles-california

 

I’m in escrow to buy a property.  It did not appraise for the purchase price.  What are my options? Click here:

www.westlaliving.com/blog/the-property-im-buying-did-not-appraise-what-are-my-options-los-angeles

 

 

Do you need specific information or generic questions answered?  I am more than happy to provide a free no obligation consultation or simply talk and help with what I can.   424-353-9004.

 

You can also instantly book a quick 15 min call by selecting a day and time at this link: https://calendly.com/robert-r/15min/  

Get In Touch

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Written By: Robert Rodriguez

Personally Speaking: I’m a proud dad and hockey player who leads with empathy and gratitude.

Goal: Providing my clients, friends, and colleagues with timely, intelligent and actionable advice.  I am always available to answer your questions regardless of whether you need to buy or sell.  Text, call or email 424-353-9004 | Robert@WestLALiving.com

Professionally Speaking:   Over 100 million in total sales volume, successfully completed over 200 transaction sides throughout the LA area and in a variety of neighborhoods with a wide range of property types.  In my 9 years as a licensed sales agent, I have climbed the ranks of the LA residential sales industry, distinguishing myself both locally and nationally.  I have sold complex Estates, land, income property, single family, luxury leases and condos. Both colleagues and clients widely recognize me as a respected professional whose reliability, dedication, and expertise is second to none.

OUTLINE: Typical Buyer Closing Costs in Los Angeles

OUTLINE: Typical Buyer Closing Costs in Los Angeles

Your Guide to Buyer Side Closing Costs

Below we outline typical closing costs a Los Angeles home buyer may encounter in a single family home purchase.

It's important to note that the information outlined below is an estimate. The formula I utilized is not exact. Escrow, Title and Lending companies set their own fees, which may vary from the calculations I use here. Additionally, each sale is an independent negotiation. Therefore, unique circumstances could be agreed to by both the buyer and seller, which may alter my closing cost guide.

 

Knowing how much your closings costs will be when purchasing real estate in Los Angeles is a necessary first step when assessing your purchasing power.  It’s also crucial to know what may or may not be negotiable, so you have the best possible understanding when negotiating fees with service providers.

 

For example, if you are purchasing a 1 million dollar property and are planning to put a 20% down payment there will be additional fees, which are not part of the down payment.  These fees are referred to as closing costs.

 

In my example below, I use a sales price of $1,000,000 with a loan amount of $800,000 and determined that closing costs may land somewhere between $15,000 – $18,000 or an additional 1.5% – 2% of the purchase price.  Below I’ve outlined the approximate fees for each category.

 

Scenario:

Sales Price: $1,000,000

20% Down Payment: $200,000

Total Financing: $800,000

 

Escrow Fees:

The base is usually $2.50 per thousand of the sales price:

 

  1. Escrow Base: 1,000 X $2.50 = $2500
  2. Loan Tie-In Fee: $500
  3. Messenger Fees: $95
  4. Notary Fee for Loan Contract Signing: $250
  5. Total: $3345

Title Insurance Fees:

 

The base is usually an average of $2.00 per thousand of your loan amount:

 

  1. Title Base: 800 X $2.00 = $1600
  2. Endorsements and Sub Escrow Fee: $90
  3. Recording Fees: $125
  4. Total: $1815

****In the calculations above, we use a per thousand metric.  For a sales price of a million dollars, like in our example, the per thousand amount is 1,000.  For the eight hundred thousand dollar loan amount above the per thousand amount is 800. You simply divide the loan amount or sales price by 1,000.

Property Tax Impound Account: $6,250

 

If you choose to impound your property taxes into your mortgage payment, the lender will create an impound account on your behalf and usually collect anywhere from 3-9 months of monthly tax payments at the close of escrow.  The exact amounts your lender will require to establish your impound account may vary.

 

***Please note this impound account is not a fee.  Impounds are funds held for property tax payments made on your behalf by your lender.

 

The property tax rate in LA county is approximately 1.25% of the assessed value, which most of the time ends up being the purchase price.

 

  1. 1.25% X 1,000,000 = $12,500 per year in annual property taxes.
  2. 6-month impound account: $6250 (amount collected by the buyer’slender at the close of escrow)

Other Expenses:

 

  1. Homeowners Insurance: $1200
  2. Home Warranty if not paid by the seller: $650
  3. Total: $1850

Financing Charges:

 

These fees vary from lender to lender and sometimes are negotiable.  There are many factors when it comes to potential lender fees.  For example, the type of loan, rate, and terms of the mortgage may determine if you are charged any fees, origination charges or points.   Some banks or brokers are flexible and can sometimes waive their underwriting or processing fees in order to win your business.

 

  1. Origination Charge: 0-2% of the loan amount.  I usually do not see an origination charge unless the buyer is paying down his or her interest rate or have a unique loan program, like a bank statement or hard money loan.
  2. Underwriting and/or Processing Fee: $900 – $3000
  3. Miscalleanos Fees could include credit report fee, admin fee, or other internal lender costs.
  4. Total: $0 – $3000


Inspection & Appraisal Fees

 

These fees are not refundable and paid directly to the service provider at the time of inspection.

  1. Appraisal Inspection: $500
  2. General Home Inspection: $400
  3. Sewer Line Inspection: $250 (may not be necessary if purchasing a condo)
  4. Chimney Inspection: $250
  5. Foundation Inspection: $250 (may not be necessary if purchasing a condo)
  6. Roof Inspection: $250 (may not be necessary if purchasing a condo)
  7. Total: $1900

 

Do you need me to formulate a specific breakdown for your price range?  Or do you want to set up a time to talk in more detail? Send me an email, shoot me a text at 424-353-9004, or fill out the contact form below.  

 

You can also instantly book a quick 15 min call by selecting a day and time at this link: https://calendly.com/robert-r/15min/  

Get In Touch

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Written By: Robert Rodriguez

Personally Speaking: I’m a proud dad and hockey player who leads with empathy and gratitude.

Goal: Providing my clients, friends, and colleagues with timely, intelligent and actionable advice.  I am always available to answer your questions regardless of whether you need to buy or sell.  Text, call or email 424-353-9004 | Robert@WestLALiving.com

Professionally Speaking:   Over 100 million in total sales volume, successfully completed over 200 transaction sides throughout the LA area and in a variety of neighborhoods with a wide range of property types.  In my 9 years as a licensed sales agent, I have climbed the ranks of the LA residential sales industry, distinguishing myself both locally and nationally.  I have sold complex Estates, land, income property, single family, luxury leases and condos. Both colleagues and clients widely recognize me as a respected professional whose reliability, dedication, and expertise is second to none.

 

Price is Just One Factor

Price is Just One Factor

Recent Sales & Area Price Averages are TWO of MANY Factors That Evaluate Price and Value

Below is list of questions to consider when assessing current and potential future value of a property and the desirability of the neighborhood.  There are many factors beyond price, price history, average price per sq. ft. and the homes specs that are crucial in helping determine your offer price, list price, or the property’s viability as an option for your family. 

Whether you are in the market to buy or sell the 21 bullet points listed below outline what to consider before making your move.

  1. Is the neighborhood trending up or down?  Do you see other renovations, new construction coming?
  2. Is the neighborhood looking tired and worn out? If so could it be re-invigorated in the future, Miami-south-beach-style?
  3. What are the crime statistics? Heading up or down? Stable?
  4. Quality of schools.
  5. Access to public transportation.
  6. How long does it take to get to daily conveniences? Even weekend house buyers are asking for walkability to a local coffee shop and are buying in towns rather than being far removed.
  7. What does the vegetation look like? A beautiful tree-lined street will have eternal charms. Any plans to plant/landscape the public areas of the area?
  8. Is the neighborhood designated a historical landmark? Restricting what can be built may have longterm value.
  9. What are the zoning restrictions? Restricting height and size could limit future supply.
  10. Are there esthetic restrictions? Think Nantucket; they have a very uniform architectural code that keeps a uniformity to the entire island, values keep soaring.
  11. Neighborhood quality of life: what is it like to live in this area? What is the quality and quantity of retail?
  12. Food. Good food – whether a superb food market or restaurant – can change an entire neighborhood.
  13. Demographic studies: who is moving in and who is moving out and why?
  14. What cultural attractions are there in the area? Sometimes a theatre or movie theatre can transform a neighborhood. Multiple cultural attractions are even better.
  15. What is the quality of the infrastructure? The roads, bridges, sidewalks, lighting, access points
  16. Transportation: is it easy and straightforward? Is it safe? Are there public transportation options? Is there sufficient parking?
  17. Government: how restrictive is government and how difficult do they make it to build, renovate, do business?
  18. Taxation: what sort of local taxes exist? What is the local debt? How prudent is the government on spending? What is the money spent on? If taxes are high, what exactly do they deliver?
  19. Economics: What is the strength of the local economy? How diversified is the economy? Is it reliant on one big employer (risky)? What are the unemployment numbers and how consistent are they?
  20. How much open land exists? Are there many opportunities to build more?
  21. How attractive is the area to younger people? Is it appealing to all generations or just one?

 

There are just some of the considerations to ponder and explore. The longer your checklist covers the above, the more robust the value of the real estate generally.

 

Get In Touch

11 + 6 =

Written By: Robert Rodriguez

Personally Speaking: I’m a proud dad and hockey player who leads with empathy and gratitude.

Goal: Providing my clients, friends, and colleagues with timely, intelligent and actionable advice.  I am always available to answer your questions regardless of whether you need to buy or sell.  Text, call or email 424-353-9004 | Robert@WestLALiving.com

Professionally Speaking:   Over 100 million in total sales volume, successfully completed over 200 transaction sides throughout the LA area and in a variety of neighborhoods with a wide range of property types.  In my 9 years as a licensed sales agent, I have climbed the ranks of the LA residential sales industry, distinguishing myself both locally and nationally.  I have sold complex Estates, land, income property, single family, luxury leases and condos. Both colleagues and clients widely recognize me as a respected professional whose reliability, dedication, and expertise is second to none.

Top 5 Family Law Pitfalls in Real Estate

Top 5 Family Law Pitfalls in Real Estate

Top 5 Family Law “Pitfalls” in Real Estate

Thinking about getting married?  Or maybe you already are?  It’s important to understand how to protect your real estate assets in case your relationship doesn’t pan out.

1. House purchased during the marriage by both spouses but using money given by on party’s parent.  This may be considered a gift to the community, and both spouses may be equally entitled to the gifted funds.

2. House already owned by both spouses as a Community Property, but refinanced in one party’s name because of credit problems.  This may be viewed as transmutation, which means you are converting a separate property into marital property.

3. House to be purchased by a non-married couple who may choose to marry at some point in the future.  This could fall under a cohabitation agreement.

4. House owned by one spouse as separate property and placed into a revocable family trust without the proper protective language.  This could also be construed as transmutation.

5. House owned by one spouse as separate property, where the mortgage is paid-down during the marriage using Community Money could also be interpreted as Transmutation – Moore/ Marsden.

This article should not be construed as legal advice.  We are not attorney’s and providing any legal information is beyond our scope of expertise.  We highly suggest you consult legal counsel regarding any items mentioned in this post, especially if you are going through a separation or divorce or contemplating one.

Do you have questions? We have answers.

13 + 3 =

Robert Rodriguez

Robert Rodriguez

Compass

Written by me, for you.

Goal: Providing my clients, friends, and colleagues with timely, intelligent and actionable advice.  I am always available to answer your questions.  Text, call or email 818-395-5517 | Robert@WestLALiving.com

Professionally Speaking: In my 8 years as a licensed sales agent, I have climbed the ranks of the LA residential sales industry, distinguishing myself both locally and nationally. I am closing in on sales upwards of 200 properties throughout the LA area and in a variety of neighborhoods with a wide range of property types. I have successfully sold complex Estates, land, income property, single family, luxury leases and condos. I have widely been recognized by both colleagues and clients as a respected professional whose reliability, dedication, and expertise is second to none.

Are we in a bubble?

Are we in a bubble?

Are we in a bubble?

Is California in the midst of another bubble?

One of my least favorite buzz words is “bubble.”   The resurgence of our economy has incensed doubt in some potential purchasers and sellers. One of the top real estate related questions I’m hearing from my clients is, “are we in a bubble?”  The cheap answer is there is no way to know with certainty, while partially correct, as your real estate professional,  I owe you more than a canned response.

The Facts:

  1. 8 years of uninterrupted price growth, which means we have entered the second-longest bull market in US history.
  2. All 1.3M jobs were lost during the recession.  2.6M jobs have been added during the expansion.
  3. Statewide median price plunged to $245,000 in 2009.  The median price is now closer $550,000, still 9% below the pre-recession peak.
  4. Unemployment remains at all time lows.  Income is growing and expected to increase.
  5. According to Wikipedia, an economic bubble or asset bubble, sometimes called a speculative bubble, is a situation in which asset prices appear to be based on implausible or inconsistent views about the future.

So, what’s the problem?

The foreclosure backlog has been wiped out, homeowners have equity, and there is significant new wealth creation for many families.

  1. Home price growth is far outpacing income growth.  The home price-to-income ratio measures the relationship between home costs vs. median household income.
  2. Currently, the median home price is roughly 8 times higher than the median household income, which is well above its historical average of 5-times income.
  3. The housing affordability index, which measures the percentage of households that can afford the median-priced home has dipped to 28% – meaning 72% cannot afford the median price home.
  4. Over 830,000 working-aged adults have left California, in the past decade, to states where home prices are dramatically lower.
  5. Low housing inventory, deteriorated affordability, and declining rates of homeownership are the concern.  Studies show that high housing costs are burdening the top employers, either by not being able to develop competitive enough hiring packages or being able to subsidize relocation costs.

How are the economics today different from the previous crash?

  1. The average FICO score for closed conventional purchases was 752.  This represents excellent creditworthiness for most people purchasing real estate.
  2. Most borrowers have skin in the game, meaning they are putting anywhere from 5-20% down.
  3. Most borrowers are locked into fixed-rate loans.
  4. As long as the borrowers keep their jobs and the economy doesn’t experience an external shock, then there is little incentive to default or walk away from a mortgage.
  5. During the run-up to the previous crash, borrowers were in loans they couldn’t afford, in adjustable rate mortgages, and many in zero-down payment products.  Further fueling the drive up in prices was loose lending standards, which drove speculation and a house of cards real estate market.  This is certainly not the case now.

What are the tipping points?

Look out for interest rates increases, which will affect affordability and place downward pressure on price appreciation.  The Federal Reserve recently raised interest rates for the 6th consecutive time since the previous financial crisis.

Also, keep an eye on potential external shocks to the economy that will affect the demand side of housing.  It’s simple; California housing prices grow because demand outstrips the chronically under-supplied market.  An economic shock that takes away demand by ramping up job losses or impacting wealth or incomes will most certainly reduce price growth.

Right now, the stock market or global economy look like the most likely targets for a potential shock.  The national price-to-earnings ratio is above its normal range, hinting that the value of many publicly traded companies is higher than their profitability suggests.  It’s important to note that if we see an external shock that causes a decline in home prices, the damage will likely not be as widespread as the previous “Great Recession.”

The wildcard is tax reform, which could tip the balance in either direction.

What do I think? 

To intelligently analyze the market, you have to be able to differentiate between a symptom and a cause.  For example, the flu is an infectious illness, which causes symptoms like fever, chills, cough, runny nose, etc.  The inability to systematically produce enough new housing units is the flu, and the symptom is the run-up in prices.  LA, which is currently the most underbuilt county in California, must build up and/or become denser.

Approximately, 180,000 new housing units must be produced each year just to tread water on housing affordability.  We will likely see more high rises, townhomes, an expansion of public transportation, and changes.  Every time I drive around our scenic city, I can’t help but notice there is almost zero vacant lots/land.  This may be unpopular for some, but a likely path.

Areas once considered low income or undesirable will become the next “it” neighborhoods.  This has already happened in individual pockets.  If you’re looking to take advantage of double-digit price appreciation, some areas are still trending at above average year over year price growth.  You just have to know how to search.

I also don’t believe we are at the tipping point yet.  Sentiment among local agents and the buyers and sellers I speak to is optimistic.  There is still room for more growth.  We will likely not see a downturn this year and possibly even next year unless an external shock hits the US or global economies.  I’m of the opinion that the current tax reform bill will likely fuel wage increases, corporate profitability and continue to stimulate growth in the markets.  According to the report in the link below, the two most overvalued regions are the Bay Area and Orange County.  However, not all markets are overvalued, but if prices do fall, they will likely hit those areas hardest.

What’s the silver lining?

Most economies in large cities are mainly made up of Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Law and Health Care.  Los Angeles additionally features technology, film/tv, creative, media, and international trade sectors which help keep it slightly more insulated than other cities. 

Do you have questions? We have answers.

14 + 2 =

Robert Rodriguez

Robert Rodriguez

Compass

Written by me, for you.

Goal: Providing my clients, friends, and colleagues with timely, intelligent and actionable advice.  I am always available to answer your questions.  Text, call or email 818-395-5517 | Robert@WestLALiving.com

Professionally Speaking: In my 8 years as a licensed sales agent, I have climbed the ranks of the LA residential sales industry, distinguishing myself both locally and nationally. I am closing in on sales upwards of 200 properties throughout the LA area and in a variety of neighborhoods with a wide range of property types. I have successfully sold complex Estates, land, income property, single family, luxury leases and condos. I have widely been recognized by both colleagues and clients as a respected professional whose reliability, dedication, and expertise is second to none.