Top 6 Websites for Researching a City

26 Jan 2018 · by Virtual Results PubSub

Top 6 Websites for Researching a CityBuying a Loft can be an intimidating process. Buying a Loft and moving to a new city can be even more stressful. Thankfully, there is so much information available online, you can now learn all about your new Loft before getting there. By researching your new city before you arrive, it will take less time to feel settled. And you’ll know just who to call for pizza delivery on moving-in day! Here are our picks for the best websites to research your new city.

AreaVibes

Plug in the zip code of your new locale on AreaVibes to get its livability score. The score is based on a number of factors, including crime, education, housing, employment, weather, amenities and cost of living. Find out your commute times, view local real estate market stats, get information about schools, and see how your town stacks up to others in the area.

Neighborhood Scout

Want to learn more about each of the neighborhoods in your new city? You can with Neighborhood Scout. By entering the zip code, you’ll get a list of all the neighborhoods in that area. Drill down deeper and find out real estate stats, unique characteristics, demographics and more. You can even see their trends and forecasts for each neighborhood.

Google Street View

Nothing gets you more familiar with a new place than driving around. Do it virtually before you arrive when you use Google Street View. Find out how easy it is to walk the neighborhood, see what shops are nearby, look for the closest public transportation stop or learn how easy it will be to park on the street. By the time you finally arrive in your new place, it will all feel very familiar.

Yelp

If you haven’t been using Yelp, what are you waiting for? It’s the best place to go online to discover the most popular restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hair salons, car mechanics and so much more in your new city. Get honest reviews from locals, see photos taken by users, browse menus and find locations on a map. You can also discover local events and get special offers from businesses that are sponsoring promotions through the website.

CrimeReports

Want to find out what the crime statistics are in your new neighborhood? Then CrimeReports should be your first stop. Here you’ll find the country’s largest collection of data from law enforcement agencies. More than 1000 agencies provide crime data to CrimeReports. You can sign up for Crime Alerts and receive notifications whenever there is an incident in the area you are following.

GreatSchools

If you’ll be moving with your family, you’ll definitely want to research the schools in your area. GreatSchools is an excellent resource to find easy-to-understand data on K-12 schools, information about school resources and student outcomes, and candid reviews from parents. They also offer a wealth of parenting resources, such as interactive tools, tips, worksheets and videos, all aimed at helping parents support their children as they grow and learn.




What is an HOA?

19 Jan 2018 · by Virtual Results PubSub

What is an HOA?

If you’re considering buying a home in a planned community, townhouse or condo, you’ll more than likely become part of a Homeowners Association (HOA). Maybe you’ve heard this term before, but aren’t sure what an HOA is or what it does. Let us answer your most pressing questions.

What is an HOA?

If your community has shared living spaces, then it will be governed by an HOA. In most cases, the HOA board is made up of homeowners who are volunteers. They hold regular meetings where homeowners can discuss and vote on issues that affect the community. When you purchase a home that is overseen by an HOA, your membership in the organization is mandatory. HOAs exist to ensure that everything in the community runs smoothly and functions properly.

What are the advantages?

If your community has shared space – a pool or clubhouse, for example – the HOA is responsible for the cleaning, maintenance and repairs of those facilities. They also keep roads and sidewalks in good condition and often beautify the neighborhood with plants, flowers and grassy spaces. HOAs help keep a community uniform by making sure that properties are maintained so that property values remain stable.

What are the rules?

In order to keep everything running smoothly, all HOAs impose rules on homeowners. They are called covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs), and you’ll receive a copy of these rules when you purchase the home. In fact, you’ll be expected to sign a contract stating that you will follow the rules. These will depend on your community, and can include everything from what color you paint your house to how many cars you can park in your driveway.

What happens if you break the rules?

While it will vary from one community to another, you will no doubt be penalized if you break the rules. In many cases, HOAs are corporations and can enforce the contracts that homeowners sign. Penalties can include reversing the violation (like repainting your house) or paying a fine. In extreme cases, homeowners can be evicted or forced to sell.

Do HOAs have fees?

HOAs impose fees on homeowners in order to cover their expenses. These dues are paid either monthly or yearly and are determined by the kind and amount of amenities your community has. In most cases, HOA fees run anywhere from $200 a month to $1,000 or more. Occasionally, the HOA may impose a special assessment in addition to your regular dues. This is usually to fund a major renovation or emergency repair that insurance doesn’t cover.

Is an HOA for you?

Before deciding to move into a planned community that is governed by an HOA, you should consider whether or not you’ll be comfortable living by its rules. If you feel you can abide by the covenant, you’ll certainly be treated to amenities that you may not otherwise get in a community that doesn’t have an HOA. Make sure to read all your HOA documents carefully, and weigh the pros and cons before making your decision.




Loftway Report 2018

15 Jan 2018 · by ChrisSampaio

The new Loftway report is out. Please take a look HERE and find out what happened to Downtown LA Real Estate in 2017.




Average Life Span of Loft Appliances

12 Jan 2018 · by Virtual Results PubSub

Average Life Span of Home Appliances

Is it time to replace your furnace? While that question may not be at the top of your mind this holiday season, it matters if you’re buying or selling a Loft. Even though most major Loft appliances are a serious investment, the truth is that they don’t last forever. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of how long most appliances last. If you’re buying or selling a Loft, take these estimates into consideration as you evaluate a property and determine a fair offer.

Kitchen

The average life expectancy for kitchen appliances can be affected by how often the appliance is used. In addition, keep in mind that older models can sometimes outlast their newer counterparts. “They just don’t make them like they used to” is sometimes correct.

  • Dishwasher: 9 years
  • Garbage disposal: 12 years
  • Trash compactor: 6 years
  • Gas oven: 10-18 years
  • Microwave oven: 9 years
  • Range/oven hood: 14 years
  • Electric range: 13 years
  • Gas range: 15 years
  • Refrigerator: 9-13 years

If you’re planning to replace a kitchen appliance, here are a few ideas about what to do with the old one.

Bathroom

Considering how often a bathroom gets used, its components often last a long time.

  • Cast iron tub: 50 years
  • Whirlpool tub: 20 years
  • Fiberglass tub and shower: 15 years
  • Toilet: 50 years

If properly maintained, many bathroom appliances can last even longer. Keep in mind that while a toilet may last 50 years, some of its internal components will need to be periodically repaired or replaced.

Laundry Room

How long a washer and dryer last will largely depend on how often they’re run. If you have a family of 8, your washing machine will probably not last as long since you’re doing more laundry than a family of 3. While there are pros and cons to both front-loading and top-loading washers, they each last about the same amount of time. The same is also true for both electric and gas dryers.

  • Washing machine: 10 years
  • Dryer: 13 years

One benefit of replacing an old model with a new one is that newer models are much more energy efficient. You could see substantial savings in your water or energy bills and may qualify for rebates.

HVAC

Your Loft’s HVAC system requires regular maintenance in order to keep it in good working condition. Even when they are kept in good working order, they also don’t last forever.

  • Boiler (electric): 13 years
  • Boiler (gas): 21 years
  • Furnace (electric): 15 years
  • Furnace (gas): 18 years
  • Furnace (oil): 20 years
  • Heat pump: 16 years
  • Air conditioning unit: 10 years
  • Tankless water heater: 20 years
  • Electric or gas water heater: 10 years
  • Humidifier: 8 years
  • Dehumidifier: 8 years
  • Thermostat: 35 years

With HVAC systems, newer is often better. Technology is always improving and heating and cooling appliances are becoming more efficient. Having your HVAC system serviced annually will help ensure that it lasts as long as possible. Change air filters and thermostat batteries regularly. Though thermostats can last for many years, new technology has made them incredibly efficient, and it’s often worth replacing them.




What To Do When Your Loft Sale Falls Through

5 Jan 2018 · by Virtual Results PubSub

What To Do When Your Home Sale Falls ThroughHaving your Loft sale fall through can be extremely disappointing. After months of preparing, accepting an offer and having your Loft under contract, it can be crushing to see the deal crumble in escrow. And a recent report from Trulia reveals that Loft sales fell through at double the rate in 2016 than they did in 2015. So what should you do if your Loft sale falls through?

Understand why the deal fell through

First of all, it’s important to understand why your deal might have fallen through. One of the most common reasons a deal doesn’t close is because of contingencies. These can include expensive repairs, a low appraisal or even and open lien on your Loft. Another common reason a Loft sale falls through is because the buyer cannot secure their financing. In some cases, these deals can be salvaged if the buyer is willing to negotiate. In others, though, you may have no choice but to relist.

Make needed repairs

If your Loft inspection revealed an issue that became a deal-breaker, you’ll need to invest in repairs. If not, you will need to disclose to the next buyers upfront what the issue is. You may also want to consider lowering your asking price to account for the repairs the new owner will need to make.

Adjust your listing price

If your Loft appraised for less than the asking price, you’ll need to have a discussion with your agent about adjusting that price. Buyers can only secure financing for the value of the property. If you don’t feel comfortable lowering the price, it might be smart to take your Loft off the market and wait for prices to recover. You can also try hiring a second appraiser to see if they appraise the Loft for a higher value.

Look for pre-approved buyers

While there’s always a chance a buyer’s loan could fall through, you’ll have greater success if you work with a buyer who has been preapproved for a loan. They’ve already been screened and are more likely to secure financing without any issues. Even better – look for buyers who are willing to make an all-cash deal. However, be aware that buyers willing to pay cash will often expect a better selling price than what you would agree to with other buyers who would need financing.

Limit contingencies

If contract contingencies caused your Loft sale to fall through, limit the contingencies on the next offer. One of the easiest pitfalls to avoid is having your sale contingent on the buyer’s sale of their current Loft. With this contingency, if their Loft sale falls through, so does yours. Look for buyers who aren’t relying on the sale of their current Loft to finance the purchase of their next Loft.

Be more attuned to a buyer’s behavior

Did your buyer get cold feet? It happens, especially because buying a Loft is a very emotional process. Be wary of buyers who seem particularly anxious or who don’t seem confident with the purchase. If you have the choice, choose a buyer who is confident, positive and ready to move forward.




New Year’s Resolutions for Buyers and Sellers

2 Jan 2018 · by Virtual Results PubSub

New Year’s Resolutions for Buyers and Sellers

The New Year brings a fresh start and the opportunity to set goals and intentions for the coming months. If you’re going to be buying or selling a Loft in 2018, now is the time to strategize. Here are some New Year’s resolutions that will help you to reach your goals of Loft buying or selling – or both!

Resolutions for Sellers

It’s time to get that to-do list written so you have a game plan for selling your Loft. Here’s what you should resolve to do in 2018 to get a great offer on your Loft:

  • Clean and organize – One of the biggest turn-offs to potential Loft buyers is walking into a Loft that is dirty and cluttered. It makes it nearly impossible to imagine what their life could look like in the Loft. Your first task when getting ready to sell is to get your Loft in order. Thoroughly clean and organize. Remove personal belongings and make needed repairs. Update paint and neutralize your decorations. Consider hiring a professional stager to maximize your existing space.
  • Decide on a timeline – Will you be purchasing a new Loft at the same time you’re selling your current one? You will want to be intentional with your timing, especially if you’re in a competitive market. Trying to pay two mortgages can be tough. Is it possible to delay the purchase of new Loft while you wait for the sale of your current Loft to close? How quickly do you need to be in your new location?
  • Interview real estate agents – Working with a professional makes the Loft selling process less stressful. Get recommendations from friends and family and schedule some interviews.

Resolutions for Buyers

Likewise, if your plan is to buy a Loft in 2018, here’s what you need to do to prepare:

  • Review your finances – Do you have enough money saved for a down payment? If not, how will you reach your goal? In addition, do you know how much you can afford to spend on a Loft? Take time to review your finances to make sure you have what you need to not only make the purchase but also to sustain the monthly payments.
  • Check your credit – Have you checked your credit report? If not, you should do that right away. Many credit reports contain errors and you will need time to have those mistakes removed. Checking your credit score will also give you an indication of what type of interest rates you’ll likely qualify for on your mortgage.
  • Get pre-approved – Speaking of mortgages, you should plan to shop around and get preapproved before you begin your Loft search. Getting preapproved signals to a seller that you are serious about the purchase. It will also show you how much you can afford to pay for your new Loft so that you can target your search.

If buying or selling a Loft is a goal for you next year, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Whatever your plans are for 2018, we hope you have a very happy and prosperous New Year!