Vista Sotheby’s International Realty - Lesli Koontz

My Blog

Thinking About Selling? Where to Start?!

1/19/2021
Thinking About Selling? Where to Start?!
Now that you’ve decided to put your home on the market, and the overwhelm is setting in you may be asking yourself “Where do I start?” Here are a few guidelines to follow to get your home sold faster and for more money.   Hi, I’m Lesli with Lesli Koontz Real Estate brokered by Vista Sotheby’s International Realty here in the South Bay. Working with sellers in Redondo Beach 90277 and 90278, I understand the overwhelm. I have found that by having a plan to follow, you can better prepare your home for those house hunters and reduce your stress.

The first thing you can do is a big one and everyone needs to do it in some manner and that is to declutter and deep clean your home.  This can be a long process, but the sooner you start the better.  Take a really good look at each room and pack up anything that you won’t need for the next few months.  This includes any personal items including pictures. And remember, you’ve got to move the stuff anyway, so you’re getting a head start. 

Second, you want to make sure that your home is squeaky clean.  By decluttering and cleaning your home, it will look much bigger and brighter. Keep in mind, if a buyer sees a dirty home they may think that the home hasn’t been well cared for and we don't want to give buyers any reason to look elsewhere. Help your home shine to prospective buyers by polishing any hardware like doorknobs or handles on your cabinets and making sure that those floors shine by deep cleaning the grout.

The next thing  - finish any of those little projects you started but didn’t complete and be sure that structural or mechanical items are in working order.  That would be items like your air conditioner, heater, and water heater.  And, if your home hasn’t had a fresh coat of paint on those walls for a while, you may want to consider painting.  Although you may really love your purple kitchen, it may make your kitchen look like a cave to a prospective buyer.   

These are a few tips to get you started on the inside, but I also want you to think about creating a great first impression and this starts even earlier bringing me to the fourth thing on the agenda -  CURB APPEAL.  To learn more about this and for more practical steps to take when preparing to sell, check back for my next blog and/or video.  I’m going to take you through the steps you need to take to sell your home faster and for more money. For more information feel free to call – I’m happy to help. 

January 2021 Market Update #1. Will We See A Crash?

1/12/2021
January 2021 Market Update #1. Will We See A Crash?
This month I'm talking about what to expect in the real estate market in 2021. Are we going to see a crash???

I know it’s hard to tell with everything we have going on. I get it. The market is ever-changing, but this has been one of the most unprecedented and unfamiliar markets in recent times. If you look at the Housing Market Recovery Index, here’s a graphic from Realtor.com - you see a V-shaped market.  

Graph_1 (3).png

Back in March, the index was at 106.5 and now we see it is at 112.8. Yes, there was a definite dip in the housing market when the pandemic first hit but now as you can see here, the market has been on a strong and steady rise, and it's stronger now than it was even prior to the pandemic. The Housing Market Index measures 4 things. One - the demand for homes - are buyers in the market and ready to buy? Two, supply or inventory - the number of available homes on the market. Three - prices - are home prices going up or down? And four, time on market – how long are homes taking to sell? Low-interest rates, in my opinion, are one of the top reasons we’re seeing such an increase in home shopping activity and this is driving the results you see in the index. One thing we will want to continue to monitor is the number of active forbearances, and just to remind you a forbearance is the deferment of mortgage payments. The number of active forbearances has been declining almost every month. And if we look at when homeowners exited their forbearance plan, you’ll see that 54.6% are paid in full, 30.7 are working out repayment plans and 14.7% are still in trouble. The thing to be concerned about is that 14.7% still in trouble. That could very well turn into a short sale or foreclosure, which could impact housing supply and therefore prices. At the moment the market is still hot and buyers are active. Look out for more information about the housing market and how it may affect you and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m happy to help. 

Economic Downturn

1/4/2021
Economic Downturn
There are so many businesses that have been negatively impacted by the current health crisis and that’s caused an economic downturn in 2020.  With so many negatives in the current economy, I wanted to take note of some of the positives. 

Applications for new businesses are way up. Applications skyrocketed in the third quarter of 2020 and continue to grow, highlighting a shift toward entrepreneurship and new startups. New businesses, also known as startups, are important indicators for the US economy because they are a major source of jobs, innovation, and competition. It's encouraging to note that the data from the US Census Bureau shows significant growth for high-propensity businesses, the type that tends to eventually employ people.

People are seeing a need and realizing that they can shift and do something different. People are also realizing that they can make a change and be their own boss. They don’t have to feel stuck, they are seeing a need and starting a business to serve that need and fill the gap.  During the Housing crash back in 2008 and during the great depression, many of the great companies of today were started and innovation was rebirthed.  Based on new business applications, this is something we might see come out of the current crisis.

Also, according to the Home Price Expectation Survey which is made up of a panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists, home appreciation is expected to increase over the next four years. The bulls, the more aggressive, predict an increase of  4.6%, and the bears, the more conservative, predict cumulative house appreciation of 1.4%, with an average cumulative increase prediction of 3.1%.  They are also anticipating potential growth in family wealth over the next five years to increase to just under $51,000.  I realize that there is a lot of negativity going on out there but it’s always nice to focus on some of the positives.   If you’re thinking of buying or selling here locally in Redondo Beach California 90277 or 90278, or anywhere in the South Bay I would love to assist you.  Always reach out for any advice or feedback - I’d love to help.  

What's Happening in the Real Estate Market Both Locally and Nationally?

12/28/2020
What's Happening in the Real Estate Market Both Locally and Nationally?
What should I do??  What's happening both nationally and locally in the real estate market?  Is now a good time to buy? Should I sell or wait for prices to go up?  What if prices go down?  These are the types of questions I'm hearing here in Redondo Beach California 90277 and 90278.  I get it. It’s hard to know what to do. I understand how nerve-wracking it can be. After all this is most likely one of your most valuable assets.  Well, let’s take a look at what’s happening in the real estate market.

Low-interest rates are fueling competition amongst buyers and boosting existing home buying activity to the highest level since 2006. The frenzy of buyer activity is driving home prices up.  According to Freddie Mac,  mortgage rates continue to set record lows. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage recently averaged 2.81%, the lowest rate since Freddie Mac began tracking such data in 1971. Economists point to weaker consumer spending as one of the factors driving down mortgage rates.  This all looks good for the real estate market.  We can’t predict what will happen, but another bit of good news is how the stimulus checks provided by the government were used.  According to the New York Fed, 29% of Americans spent the money, but 35% paid down debt, and 36% saved the money. So it seems that 71% of Americans used their money wisely and that should help us as well. 

So what's your take on the real estate market? Let me know. - reach out to me anytime. I'm here to help with a no-obligation call, just to answer questions. 

First Time Home Seller Part 2

12/22/2020
First Time Home Seller Part 2
I've talked about the first step when selling your home and I want to expand on what buyers are looking for in this crazy seller’s market. As a first-time home seller, do you know if your home checks all the boxes? If you want to know what the first step is when selling your home, check out Lesli Koontz Real Estate on Facebook where you’ll find that and more real estate tips or scroll down this blog.

Move-in ready is still the top thing on buyer's lists, especially now that new construction doesn’t cost much more than move-in ready existing homes of similar size with similar amenities. If your home needs some updating, a buyer is going to respond accordingly, with an offer that reflects the quality of the home. Many people still won’t pay more than market value for a property even when the market is strongly in the seller’s favor. But if you do find a buyer that loves your home so much that they agree to pay over market value, if they're using a loan for the purchase, then the home will still have to appraise for the contracted price. This is the biggest obstacle we’ve been seeing lately - homes not meeting the appraisal value. Appraisals coming in lower, under contract price, are much more common now than in years past because the lack of inventory that we’ve had, coupled with low-interest rates has really created a buying frenzy. Sellers are seeing this, and are aggressively pricing, trying to get as much as possible, not concerned with the fact that the house must appraise – or being prepared with a strategy when it doesn’t. But that’s another issue that I’ll talk about next time. If you would like more in-depth information about selling your home reach out. I’m here to help. 

First Time Home Seller

12/16/2020

First Time Home Seller
Home selling for anyone can be stressful, but if it’s your first time, it’s really a huge learning curve. If you have a loan on your home, and you’re looking to move up, most likely you will have to sell your home first, - that is unless you can get a bridge loan, something I'll talk about in another blog - before you can buy your next home. In the real estate world, this is called a contingency and can be a tricky situation to navigate if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Thankfully, I’m well versed in contingency sales, and I know how to safely walk my clients through what can be a challenging endeavor. First things first, we need to establish if you have enough equity and available cash to move up in price point. Because we’re in a strong seller’s market, when you move from being a seller to being a buyer, you need to be in the best possible offer position. Equity and available cash are two of the main factors that will get you there.

I’m happy to do a complimentary market analysis of your home and strategize with you on the best course of action to achieve your goals.  I offer cutting edge digital marketing tools to help my clients position their home for maximum exposure and sell for top dollar, and I’m glad to put my expertise to work for you too. Contact me for a free market analysis of your home – there’s never any obligation. 

 

Is The Juice Worth The Squeeze - Zillow's Zestimate

12/15/2020
Is The Juice Worth The Squeeze - Zillow's Zestimate
To Zest or Not to Zest? We’ve all seen that Zillow estimate or “Zestimate” of our homes' worth. So, the real question is... Is the juice worth the squeeze? Can you trust it? I hate to sound sour, but the answer is NO and let me explain why. Zestimates can be grossly inaccurate. Zillow uses an algorithm based on public data and it’s never stepped foot once inside your home - I mean how could it - it's a computer! So, it can’t account for any unique features or any upgrades that you may have made. And ALL of those factors have a huge impact on the value of your home. Even Zillow encourages you to only use the Zestimate as a starting point - an estimate and to get a more accurate evaluation by a licensed Realtor or appraiser. That's where I come in. If you’re wondering what your home's value is- it's really important to get a Comparative Market Analysis done. All you need to do is click this link to submit your request for a CMA. I’ll have it ready for you in no time. And there's never any obligation. 

Pre-List Inspection

12/11/2020
Pre-List Inspection
When and why should you consider having inspections done prior to listing your home on the market? In our area is it customary for the buyer to pay for inspections. But when would it be advantageous for you as a seller to do them prior to going on the market? I don’t always recommend this, but there are a few times when having inspections done prior to listing is helpful, and can end up saving you both time and money!

As a seller, you want to be aware of the condition of your property and you don’t want any big surprises. Imagine getting a termite bill for $50,000 and the only way the buyer will buy your home is if the repairs are made or paid for. But what if you've already purchased another home and you need that $50,000 to pay for it? This would create a huge problem. What about this - let’s say you found out that the home you’re selling needed a new roof or air conditioning unit replaced or some other major repair? If you knew in advance, you could decide what to repair, disclose the remaining issues, and sell the home “as is’, or even decide not to sell. The bottom line is that forewarned is forearmed. The idea behind getting inspections done prior is so that there are no unexpected surprises that could financially hurt you later.

The recommended inspections are general, roof, plumbing, and termite. In regards to the general and termite inspections, It’s helpful, but not mandatory to make sure all the health and safety items are fixed, as well as all Section 1 termite work, which includes dry rot, leaks and of course active termites as these are generally the things buyers will ask for. It helps the seller because they have much more assurance that they will actually “net” what it is that they thought they would when going into escrow. It gives them peace of mind that the buyer won’t ask for any unreasonable or outlandish repairs. It also cuts down on inspection times.

Having inspections done prior also protects the seller if they have a replacement property to purchase and need every penny out of their sale to secure and close on their new purchase. Also, the buyer is more confident that they are buying a sound home that is in move-in ready condition. And, if there is bank financing on the property, some loan programs require health and safety as well as Section 1 termite work to be completed prior to closing escrow so with that already being completed, there is further assurance that the loan will go through. To wrap it up, it gives the sellers, buyers, and lender more confidence throughout the entire transaction that the home will actually close. 

What's Happening In the Market Right Now?

11/21/2020

What's Happening In the Market Right Now
Can the market keep up its pace in the seller's favor?  And will this cause a crash like what happened in 2008?  I continue to get these questions over and over, and the bottom line is that no one has the answers with any certainty.  But what I can tell you is what is happening right now in our local real estate market. Many homes selling here in Redondo Beach California 90277 and 90278, and the South Bay in general for that matter, are going above list price with multiple offers.  But why? Why does that keep happening?  Well, let’s dive into it. 

What we do know is that, just as predicted by real estate experts and advisors earlier in the year, we have seen a V-shaped recovery. The market drastically dropped and slowed down when the pandemic hit, but once things got back to normal, or once our “new normal” set in, the housing market recovered. The Housing Market Recovery Index tracks: 1. Demand 2. Supply 3. Price and 4. Time on Market.  The index is well above the pre-COVID baseline. 

Data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, Zillow, and The National Association of Realtors all show that the leading indicators that determine a strong market like showing times, purchase applications, pending sales, existing home sales, and new home sales are all up, again indicating that we are in a very strong market. Also, factors like inventory levels for both traditional inventory and new construction are down, meaning that we have limited inventory, which again is an indication of a strong market in the favor of sellers. 

So although I can't predict what will happen in the future, just as no one can, what I do know is that right now, we are seeing a very strong seller's market.   Feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

 

Thinking About Moving To Redondo Beach? Let's Talk About South Redondo

11/18/2020
Thinking About Moving to Redondo Beach? Let's Talk About South Redondo 
If
you're thinking about moving to Redondo Beach, there are a few things you want to know. Although the city is only a little more than six square miles, there is a distinct division between the north and south sections of the city. Although North Redondo Beach zip code 90278 and South Redondo Beach zip code 90277 are part of the same city, you will find distinct differences in the styles and price points of homes, access to beaches and bike trails, and freeway accessibility, just to name a few. These are all things you will want to weigh when you're deciding which neighborhood is right for you.


South Redondo Beach is located along the beachfront, with the pier and the marina harbor complex. South Redondo has wide streets, wide sand beaches, and a laid back feel. it's the perfect spot for those looking for an easy walk or bike to the beach, restaurants, and grocery store type of community. If there's a downside, and there aren't many, it's that South Redondo does not provide easy freeway access. You will find any freeway to be a 15 to 20-minute drive, so if you need to commute to work, South Redondo may not be the best choice for you. 

There are many close-knit communities to be found in South Redondo Beach, and each of these has its own unique feel. Some areas to explore include The Avenues, The Jewel Streets, and The Hollywood Riviera, a unique area unto itself. The majority of homes in South Redondo Beach are single-family, but you will find some condos as well. The average sales price of a home in South Redondo Beach is just over 1.2 million. If you have any questions about Redondo Beach 90277 or 90278, I'm here to help.

 

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